there is hope…


[photo credit: Hu Yuanjia]
i keep these photographs in my phone to look at every once in a while. 
briefly, the story around them, goes as so: the photographer heard someone yelling and then people gathering around an elderly man sitting on a bench in a train station. he had apparently fallen asleep and then passed away. out of the crowd, a Buddhist monk walked over and began chants and prayers over the deceased man, holding his hand. after completing the ritual, the monk bowed to the deceased man and then disappeared into the crowd.
i find this story and these images so moving. there’s so much beauty in seeing such empathy and compassion in action. the monk, treating the deceased man with an incredible depth of dignity and compassion.
keep images and stories like this close to your hearts during this time, friends. where we don’t see it, we can be it.
we are currently seeing a grave lacking of empathy, of treating others with dignity, of compassion from the highest offices. it is worrisome. however, these values, these ways of being still exist, and where they exist there is hope.
~j

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

Answering the cries of the world…


For those of us in the LGBTQ community, for people of color, for Muslims, for the differently abled, for women, for the immigrant, and for anyone else who feels a sense of being the “other” or oppressed, the results of this election may feel frightening and concerning. Our hearts broken, vulnerable, and tender.
Stay with this. 
STAY with this. Do not cover it up, do not hide from it, do not run from it. There is no need to pretend.
This brokenness, this vulnerability, this tenderness of heart, IS our strength and our power.
It is the same strength and power imbued and made manifest throughout history by artists, peacemakers, spiritual warriors, and lovers. This is what the world needs right now. Perhaps, more than ever.
For those of us who are LGBTQ – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are people of color – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are Muslim – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are women – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are immigrants – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are differently abled – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those whom I may not understand, who may hold opposite views (even views I consider harmful), who also seem to be feeling frightened, disenfranchised, and angry – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
The road ahead will surely be work. Perhaps, very difficult to work. But I vow to continue to work in service of the values and principles that define my life, my art, my writing, my spiritual practice.
I vow to continue to work in service of the same values and principles that moved me to vote for whom I continue to believe is the most qualified and representative candidate. 
I vow to continue to work in service of all that speaks to the best of who we are and can be. 
I vow to continue to work in service of all that opens hearts, nurtures kindness, motivates fierce compassion, elevates the “other”, and opens doors to the immigrant – the hungry -the poor. 
I vow to continue to work in service of all that produces dialogue, civility, nonaggression and nonviolence.
This is what I can do, what WE can do, no matter who is President or who is in Congress or who is on the Supreme Court.
This world desperately needs healers, lovers, peacemakers – bodhisattvas.
Will we hear the cries of the world and answer the call?

~j
11.09.16