#420. The Elephant in the Meditation Room | Christopher Ford
Today’s episode is the culmination of a long search to find a countervailing force: a Buddhist Trump supporter. This search was born out of the Buddhist impulse to find the other side. What is talked about as cultivating non-attachment to views and also called “beginner’s mind.” As you will hear, after a lot of searching, we finally found our person. Christopher Ford is a longtime Republican who worked for Trump (albeit indirectly) at the State Department. Ford wrote a pair of fascinating and provocative articles for the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar. One was entitled, Zen and the Moral Courage of Moderation. The other was called, The Elephant in the Meditation Room.
Christopher Ford is a lay chaplain in the Soto tradition of Zen Buddhism. His teacher is Roshi Joan Halifax, who has been on this show a couple of times and is herself a longtime progressive. From January 2018 until January 2021, he served at the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation. He’s also worked at the National Security Council, and as a congressional staffer.
This episode explores:
- Ford’s argument for a Buddhist conservatism
- Ford’s experience in the Trump administration and his assessment of our current political state
- the personal tools Ford recommends using in day-to-day life, some of which go right to the issue of not being attached to our views
Where to find Christopher Ford online:
Other Resources Mentioned:
- Lion’s Roar - Zen and the Moral Courage of Moderation
- Lion’s Roar - The Elephant in the Meditation Room
- Edmund Burke
- Helmuth von Moltke
- Dan Clurman and Mudita Nisker
- Download the Ten Percent Happier app today: https://10percenthappier.app.link/install