an ideology of violence…

the ideology of White Supremacy is at its foundation, within its very core, violence. the moment one race has been placed in a position of superiority to another, thereby diminishing the humanity of the other race, an act of violence has taken place. whether it manifests in thought, word, deed, through a platform of economics, institutions, laws, politics, it is violence. whether under the label is White Nationalist, Neo-Nazi, Nazi, Confederate, or Alt-Right, it is violence. there is no such thing as a “peaceful” White Supremacy rally.I have to remain hopeful that hearts can be awakened, but we don’t awaken them by sympathizing with the true enemies which are delusion, fear, aggression and hate, or excusing the violence that manifests from these sicknesses. we must name the suffering, shining light into the dark abyss which is racism, which includes an honest and real look at this country’s foundation, its history, and our own privilege. so many want to claim they are pro-life. this is a moment to prove it. one cannot claim pro-life, yet sympathize with, excuse or ignore an ideology of death. and although they may not recognize it and we may not want to see it, those who identify with the White Supremacist ideology are also victims of its destructive power. there are no winners in hate. so, we must stand firmly as an ally to life and those who have and are suffering at the hand of the destructive and dark force of racism.

~j

no one superior…

the basic Buddhist understanding of life is one of interdependence, that we have no independent self, that many co-arising conditions have come together to manifest this body and life.  this is the case with all things, including all people.  as it has been often quoted and re-quoted (to paraphrase) we are related to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, and to the entire Universe atomically.  all have their rightful and honored place in this web-like tapestry of Life.

understanding this, how can anyone say that one thing is more important or superior to another?

this is Achilles Heel of the White Supremacist movement, the White Nationalists movement, the Nazis, the Neo-Nazis, the KKK, the Alt-Right movement, and all the other racist movements that have sprung up through time over and over pitting one group of people against another manifesting in physical violence, economic/structural/institutional violence, and political violence.

They are all eventually doomed.  Why?  Because they act contrary to Life itself which is at its foundation interdependent and always changing.  Yet, these movements rise up again and again – sometimes hiding under a rock sheltered in darkness, until finding home once more in fragile egos and closed hearts.  This is why it is so important that we stand as allies to Life and to all who are oppressed.  Life acts through us, and sometimes in spite of us, so it is each one of us who have to wake up, listen, stand, speak, write, create art, practice and serve, as allies to Life and all who are oppressed finding themselves on the receiving end of the fear, anger, bigotry, racism, aggression and violence that has found its way into the light.  We MUST be engaged.  Naming the darkness and what lies beneath it, so that we can defeat it, without becoming it.

in this moment our greatest enemies are what we call in Buddhism, The 3 Poisons – our tendency to avoid the discomfort of our situation of this life by either grasping (greed), being aggression (hatred), or lost in our ignorance (delusion – ignorance is NOT bliss).  these are the driving reactive force for those who would put themselves above others, the roots of the fear and anger we see motivating racism and these hostiles groups.  we counter these by authentically engaging life in all of its challenge and discomfort with an open heart through practicing The 4 Immeasurables, which are lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.  these aren’t to be confused with being “nice” as we may think.  compassion can be fierce, cutting and precise.  we need the fiercest compassion at this time.

the rock has been turned over again and what has been hiding underneath once more is in the light.  what will we do?  the world is watching and history will record these moments.

~j
08.14.17

Michael Stone – teacher, thinker, activist…

Michael Stone

Hello friends –

Buddhist teacher, thinker, and activist Michael Stone transitioned from this life to the next last night.  Although I didn’t know him personally, I have valued his teachings both through his YouTube vlogs and his writings.  Very real, very accessible, and always with a sense of tenderness and genuine curiosity.  His presence will be missed.  The openness and generosity of his partner and wife, Carina along with other members of his family and loved ones during the past 24 or so hours has been an incredible act of grace as they practiced openly and invited all those touched by Michael’s teachings to join them in practice.

Although I have many favorite Michael dharma talks, I have some particular favorites below for you to view.  Michael had this thing he did “5 Minute Dharma Talks” which I have loved to go back to from time to time.  They were like a clarifying anchor in my practice.

May they bring benefit to your practice as well:

The heart of non-attachment – Michael Stone

Redefining the present moment – Michael Stone

The gift of our wounds – Michael Stone

a longer talk/conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer:
Nobody’s Life Is Just Their Life

Mindfulness & Concentration: Practice Tips with Michael Stone

 

Michael was also at the forefront of practice and social engagement, which you get a glimpse of in his videos I’ve posted above.  We are certainly in a time when this is not only beneficial, but necessary.

May Michael’s teachings continue to be of benefit as the generosity of the dharma ripples out from heart to heart, into the world.

bows of gratitude
~j

why wait?

Sooner or later life catches up with us and we come to the realization that there is no avoiding our problems, there is no running away from our demons, there is no going to war to win over this life or force our way through.  It never lasts.  There is nothing to grasp in desperation.  It only adds to the suffering in the world.

We come to realize, often through experiencing or bearing witness to suffering, that the only true option is to meet life with authenticity in all of its rawness with an open heart, right here in this moment.

Meditation is the practice of not waiting until later, but gently and persistently meeting life as it is and as we are in this moment.  Staying put.  meeting our demons with compassion and gentleness.  Moving beyond winning and losing.  Letting go.  Transforming suffering rather than transmitting suffering.  Then we have no need to go to war with ourselves, with others, with life.  Then we have peace.

~j

healthcare…

a healthy and happy life should not be a privilege given only to a few, whether based on wealth or some distinction declared by temporary gatekeepers of some temporary political power.
it is abundantly clear that the current Republican Administration and Congress are not pro life in any authentic turning of the phrase.
your power is your voice and your actions. may they be heard and seen. ~j CALL your senators about #AHCA. (202) 224-3121. #healthcare
#empathy #compassion #courage #MeditateAndResist #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #TheResistance #AHCA

know who you are…

in the thick of things, the darkness and difficulty, don’t forget who you are. you are Love, luminous and open.meet life with empathy, with compassion, and the steady, purposeful, and unshakable strength that comes from being grounded in Love.

~j
[…if you want a master class in what happens when we allow our wounds to close up and drag us into a bitter anger, and then what happens when this is met with empathy, compassion, and courage, watch the end scenes of Moana. be a healer. meet life with empathy, compassion and courage grounded in Love.]

cannot stop the Spring…

 

You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
~ Pablo Neruda

friends ~
love is the spring.  your open heart and your love, have the power to awaken this world.  so, center yourself in openness and love no matter the outside forces, moving forward with empathy and compassion, working to lessen the suffering in the world.
~j