Too Soon to Tell

Before the U.S. election in November 2004, What Is Enlightenment? magazine posed the following query to five religious leaders: "Many people argue that the upcoming presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. Do you agree?"

Four respondents said, in effect, "Yes, because George W. Bush is bad for America and the world."

But the fifth, Zen Buddhist Jan Chozen Roshi, replied, "I don't know. Our existence is so short, it's like a dust mote in the eye of God. To say that the time in which my dust mote existed was the most important is a self-centered view."

Jan Chozen Roshi's wisdom resembled that in an anecdote told by Henry Kissinger. Kissinger once asked Chinese premier Zhou Enlai what he thought of the French Revolution, which had happened two centuries earlier. "Too soon to tell," Zhou answered.