Partly due to the political partisanship I’ve witnessed in the Buddhist Churches of America over the past four years, I no longer consider myself a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist. 

Instead, I am a follower of Meher Baba, the East Indian spiritual teacher who claimed to be the promised Maitreya. This conversion to being a Baba lover has taken a few years, but the political partisanship I’ve seen recently was too much to bear. 

The life and message of Meher Baba transcends all political partisanship. Meher Baba took a vow of poverty, traveling throughout India to feed, bathe, and clothe lepers, the mentally ill, and the outcasts of Indian society. He maintained a vow of silence the last 45 years of his life. 

When Mahatma Gandhi came to Meher Baba for spiritual advice, Baba instructed that he must leave politics behind to be one of his followers. Gandhi agreed to Baba that he would do so, but only after Pakistan had settled as a country independent of India. Shortly afterward, Gandhi was assassinated. 

In the words of Meher Baba, “I have no connection with politics. All religions are equal to me, and all castes and creeds are dear to me. But, although I appreciate all "isms,” religious and political parties for the many good things that they seek to achieve, I do not and cannot belong to any of these “isms,” religious or political parties. For the Absolute Truth, while equally including them, transcends all of them, and leaves no room for separate divisions which are all equally false. The unity of all life is integral and indivisible. It remains unassailable and inviolable in spite of all conceivable ideological differences.“

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