A Better Shutdown

ShutdownWorking in the government sectors are often known as having iron rice bowls. However, recent happenings in America say otherwise. America’s partial government shutdown put many temporarily on forced unpaid leaves, forgetting that these people probably have mouths to feed and mortgages to pay. Such bickering at the top could only make the poor suffer more. Well, American politics aside. Quite coincidentally, a few friends and relatives recently related to me on how government sectors of their own or adopted countries had let them down. After hearing about their grievances and helplessness, I could only offer my condolences. It is sad that with so much greed, hatred and ignorance, Pure Land here in Samsara seems faraway. The only shutdown needed is in terms of these three poisons.

I won’t say I’m exactly very patriotic but I certainly love my country. To me, serving the country is a form of showing appreciation, especially if the country is a safe and (relatively) free place to live in. Perhaps many of us have taken things for granted, and have forgotten that the roles we hold have strings attached – karmically speaking. The government was elected to serve, and civil servants employed to aid the government to serve better. All are paid by taxpayers. It often perplexes me that some people of such sectors could slack at their jobs, or worse, become corrupted. I guess they have no idea of the magnitude of negative karma they have to bear if a single lousy policy affects or causes more harm than good to those they are supposed to help. I can’t bear to think of the consequences.

Like work in the corporate world, if one is paid to do the job, it’s not right to exploit customers, or to shirk one’s responsibilities without genuine contribution of products or services. You might argue that everyone is doing it, but why set your bar so low? Just so you know, you are not only stealing time but cheating money (salary) as well. ‘Everyone’ is not going take on your own self-reaped karmic suffering; ‘everyone’ will have to pay their own dues. The scale of such ‘offenses’ is simply larger if one is serving the people of a country, with far-reaching exponential effects.

Having said that, let us give credit to those who truly deserve it. There are many unsung heroes who contribute(d) selflessly for the country, who work with dignity and morality – even when they are severely challenged. Whether in the public or private sector, I hope you will use the Buddhadharma to guide you along, to uphold your precepts with ever more integrity, even if you are at risk of losing some ‘rewards’. Because doing the right thing for the masses is truly worthier (and more meritorious) than the stacks of virtual dough in your bank account. Money isn’t going to accompany or help you when you have to pass away… while negative karma might be the huge burden you have to bear in your next life. Act wisely, and may the Buddhadharma always be with you.