#MarchForOurLives

change is possible.

we can choose peace. we can choose to live in a society that creates a culture of nonviolence and values life more than a weapon of war. a society and culture that sees the life of others as more valuable and sacred than a hobby or some far stretched interpretation of the Second Amendment, that impedes on and jeopardizes another’s’ life.

what we saw today were seeds, some planted long ago in blood and grief and some all too recent, being born to life.

i’m inspired by the strength i see from these young people, their focus and poise, their authenticity, their courage, their persistence.

grateful for them and all of the students i saw today marching, the teachers, the artists, the veterans who see a continued call to serve – still honoring their oath to protect and see sensible and desperately needed gun reform as part of that, lending their voice.

pictures (some me by me and some by my friends at the march today) of beautiful friends with incredible hearts and beautiful strangers with incredible hearts below ✊🏻😌❤️🙏🏻📿

#MarchForOurLivesSD #MarchForOurLives #ENOUGH #NeverAgain #EndGunViolence #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #EngagedBuddhist #EngagedBuddhism #MindfulResistanc

inexhaustible love…

Our power is love.

Inexhaustible.

Found in our open hearts.
Vulnerable, tender, brave,
and strong beyond measure.

No one can take this away.

It is the weapon of the oppressed,
that eventually defeats the oppressor,
who in ignorance
underestimates its power,
its reach.

It is the long arc.

~j

#LoveWins #TheLongArc #inexhaustible #OpenHeart #PlantingSeeds #TheResistance #MeditateAndResist #MindfulResistance #EngagedBuddhism #EngagedArt #JMWart

the Light…

“Close your eyes. Feel it. The light…it’s always been there. It will guide you.”

~

Maz Kanata

stop. sit. breathe. let go. allow.

(rinse and repeat)

when renewed, get back up and do generous, kind, compassionate work to benefit a world that is suffering.

~j

#StarWarsWisdom #StarWarsQuotes #MazKanata #TheForce #StarWars #LucasFilm #Disney #light #meditation #JustSit #breathe #LetGo #bodhisattvas #EngagedBuddhism #JMWart

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

Practicing Dharma in Uncertain Times…

Wonderful essay by the incomparable Jack Kornfield. I have copied this from Lion’s Roar publication, but the essay originally posted at the Spirit Rock website.

May his words open eyes and hearts.
~j

Now Is the Time to Stand Up: Practicing the Dharma in Uncertain Times, Part 2

After the election of Donald Trump, Lion’s Roar shared a new teaching by Jack Kornfield, called “Practicing the Dharma Uncertain Times.” Now, Jack follows up with second, more action-oriented installment of post-election guidance and encouragement.

Ordained tree.

As long as a society holds regular and frequent assemblies, meeting in harmony
and mutual respect, can they be expected to prosper and not decline.
As long as a society follows the long held traditions of wisdom, and honors its elders,
can they be expected to prosper and not decline.
As long as a society protects the wives and daughters and vulnerable among them,
can they be expected to prosper and not decline.
As long as a society cares for the shrines and sacred places of the natural world,
can they be expected to prosper and not decline.
—Mahaparinirvana Sutta (a text of Buddha’s last teachings)

Whatever your political perspective, now is the season to stand up for what matters. To stand against hate. To stand for respect. To stand for protection of the vulnerable. To care for the natural world.

Do not believe that meditation and contemplation are the fulfillment of the Buddhist Path. Inner peace, freedom and joy develop only when paired with the outer teachings of virtue, respect and mutual care. The foundation of Dharma is relational, built on generosity, virtue and loving-kindness. The Path to human happiness and liberation requires Right Intention, intentions that are free from greed, hatred and cruelty; Right Speech, speech that is true and helpful, not harsh, not vain, slanderous nor abusive; and Right Action, actions that are free from causing harm, killing, stealing and sexual exploitation.

In his life, the Buddha intervened to try to stop wars. He counseled kings and ministers, and guided those around him with teachings of peace and respect. In modern times, Maha Ghosananda of Cambodia joined the United Nations peace process and led years of peace walks of loving-kindness through the war zones and killing fields of Cambodia. Thai abbots have taken their robes and ordained the oldest trees as elders of the forest to protect whole ecosystems from logging. Burmese monks and nuns marched in the streets to protect citizens from the harsh military dictatorship. A.T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka enlisted hundreds of thousands in a 500-year peace plan. Vietnamese, Chinese and Tibetan monastics have stood up for peace, justice and compassion, even immolating themselves to stop the harmful actions around them.

Gandhi explains, “Those who say spirituality has nothing to do with politics do not know what spirituality really means.”

This is not about red or blue. It is about standing up for the most basic of human principles, for moral action and the prevention of harm. It is embodying Dharma amidst the troubles of the world.

You are not alone. You have generations of ancestors at your back. You have the blessing of interdependence and community. You have the great trees of the forest as steadfast allies. You have the turning of the seasons and the renewal of life as your music. You have the vast sky of emptiness to hold all things graciously.

With peacefulness and mutual respect, our Buddhist communities can become centers of protection and vision.

You have been training for this for a long time. With practice you have learned to quiet the mind and open the heart. You have learned emptiness and interdependence. Now it is time to step forward, bringing your equanimity and courage, wisdom and compassion to the world. The Bodhisattva shows the way to alleviate suffering amidst it all.

As Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains, “When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.”

Since the election, storms of uncertainty and fear have arisen. It is time to collectively stand up, calm and clear. With peacefulness and mutual respect, our Buddhist communities can become centers of protection and vision.

Protection can take many forms. Protection can be providing sanctuary for those in danger. Protection can be skillfully confronting those whose actions would harm the vulnerable among us. Protection can be standing up for the environment. Protection can be becoming an active ally for those targeted by hate and prejudice.

Vision means carrying the lamp of the Dharma. It means standing up for the truth—no matter what:

“Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.”
“Greed, Hate and Ignorance create suffering. Generosity, Love and Wisdom bring happiness.”
“Mind is the forerunner. Speak and act with a pure mind and happiness will follow.”
“Plant seeds of goodness, and well-being will grow.”

Now a time of change has come.

We must listen deeply, bear witness, honor everyone, and choose our actions wisely and courageously.

Do not worry if the Right Action is not yet clear to you.

Wait in the unknowing with mindfulness and a clear heart.

Soon the right time will come and you will know to stand up.

I will meet you there.

 

This piece was originally published on SpiritRock.org.

 

Jack Kornfield is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Center and one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a former Buddhist monk, a clinical psychologist, and a husband and father.