we got this…

Kuan Yin, also known by the names Guan Yin or Kannon is the feminine personification of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion who hears and answers the cries of the world.
inspired by a well known statue, in this image she sits calm and steady, ready to unleash her fierce compassion. she’s saying, “I got this.”
may we all be so inspired on this International Women’s Day and everyday to join in fierce compassion, stating with steady resolve, “We got this.”

#InternationalWomensDay #internationalwomensday2017 #MeditateAndResist #resist #FierceCompassion #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #Bodhisattva #Avalokitesvara #KuanYin #compassion #Buddhism #JMWart

because love calls us to…


Despite what this Administration says, the welfare and safety of our transgender youth is not a States’ Rights issue.

It is a Human Rights issue.  Plain and simple.

Creating and supporting an environment that is safe and affirming for all of our youth, including and especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable is in the best interest of all of us as a society and only asks that we open our hearts.  It does not require our agreement, or even our full understanding.  All it asks of us is our empathy and compassion.

If you find yourself resistant to this, there is a wonderful Buddhist meditation practice called Metta, or Lovingkindness meditation.  It is a training in opening the heart.

In Metta, we begin with offering to ourselves, using the phrases:
May I be happy
May I be safe
May I be free from suffering

Then we offer to others, using the phrases:
May you be happy
May you be safe
May you be free from suffering

Offering to a loved one, then to a benefactor.  Offering to someone we may be aware of, but do not really know.  Then to someone with whom we may be in disagreement or find we have some negative feelings toward.  Then we offer to all beings, all of life.

We can surely also offer this practice to those whom we may not understand, for those who are different from us, who hold different views, who have a life experience different from ours.

Compassion is love offered and put into action out of the tenderness and softness of our hearts.  It is not something we give to only those we agree with or for whom we think merit its benefits.  It is a gift we give, simply because it is there and it is needed.  It benefits the giver as well as the recipient.

Stand with our youth, stand with our transgender family, because love calls us to do so.



I am, because we are…

Interdependence is a cornerstone of Buddhism.  The idea that “I” only exist, because of the dependent co-arising of the elements that make “me” exist.  My human body has about 30 trillion human cells in it and about 40 trillion non-human microbes in it.  I am more “not” human, than human!  These cells and microbes aren’t “me.”  However, I wouldn’t be “me” if they didn’t exist and make up this body that I have identified as “me.”

Likewise, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my parents, or their parents, or their parents’ parents, on back.  I wouldn’t have my current employment if it wasn’t for the person who hired me, or if the person that hired them hadn’t hired them.  My food that I generally do not take enough time to appreciate would not sit before me, if it weren’t for the grocery store, the farmers, or the sun and the rain.  So, my health and welfare are in many ways contingent on elements and people outside myself, that I depend on.

Beyond these every day situational examples of interdependence, there are the very foundational elements of who we are – elements!  As Neil deGrasse Tyson has been often quoted as saying, we are related to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, and to the Universe atomically.  We simply share more in common with who we are on a fundamental level, than not.

One doesn’t have to be a Buddhist or a scientist to see this as true.  A Muslim, a Jew, or a Christian can draw the same conclusion based on their belief that all life has come forth from God (or Yahweh, or Allah).  If my life has come forth from God and your life has come forth from God – then are we not basically the same at our core, the source of our lives coming from the Source of all life?

In this perspective it seems insane if not just ridiculous to fabricate more ways to divide us from others.  But the fabrication of division, through manipulation, drawing upon peoples’ fears, anger, and ignorance is what we are currently resisting in the form of bans and walls.

We are resisting such ideology, because it is harmful.  We are also resisting such ideology, because it is simply not true.  It is not authentic to the reality of life.  The reality that all of our lives are interdependent.  The reality that I am, because we are.



a worthy experiment…

most of us live from one reaction to another reaction, ping ponging through life. what would happen if we simply just stop, if we allow ourselves the space to be still, if we just sit and breathe?  we may just find that it is a worthy experiment.

*phrase in artwork inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh.

you are already enough, just sit…

“The essence of Buddhist practice is not so much an effort at changing your thoughts or your behavior so that you can become a better person, but in realizing that no matter what you might think about the circumstances that define your life, you’re already good, whole, and complete. It’s about recognizing the inherent potential of your mind. 
In other words, Buddhism is not so much concerned with getting well as with recognizing that you are, right here, right now, as whole, as good, as essentially well as you could ever hope to be.”

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Interdependence, from MLK Jr to today…

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly…Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.

We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”


~ Martin Luther King, Jr


The quote above is one of the dearest for me in the pantheon of MLK Jr quotes.  So many of his words still reverberate with sharp wisdom and prophetic knowing.  But this one cuts to the heart of all of it.


A word not just at the core of Buddhist understanding of life, but of life itself.  Any close examination of life bears witness to it.  We are not who we are or where we are through any single doing of our own, but only through the generosity and service of so many who have contributed to the circumstances that find us who we are and where we are, some knowingly and some unknowingly.  And we too, each of us, play a vital part in others’ lives, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly.  Check out the film It’s A Wonderful Life to see a fictionalized version of this told for the holidays, or watch Back To The Future.

MLK Jr understood this, and understood this at the core of what brings us together – a mutual understanding that we NEED each other, that our every action influences and affects the lives of those around us sometime near and sometime far.  There is a ripple that plays out in ways we may never know.  Words matter.  Actions matter.  How we treat each other matters.

I’m a little late this week in writing a post about Martin Luther King, Jr, because I’ve been a bit stalled by illness.  But, the timing still seems right.  As we head toward the end of this week and the final day of President Barack Obama’s Presidency, the contrast between our current President and the President-Elect could not appear more stark to me in light of this quote.

Perhaps this is why I am most concerned.  While President Barack Obama is far from perfect and there will be criticism by some and debate about his Presidency, he has repeated time and again – even in the face of consistent and mean-spirited criticism – that he believes that deep down people are good and that with our work together, progress continues to move forward (sounding similar to another MLK Jr quote), often giving credit to the team around him for any successes that may have manifest.  By contrast, our President-Elect has built his campaign singling out individuals and groups with a level of public degradation, always surprising and at times alarming, all the while promoting himself as the only solution to America’s problems.

Life is interdependence.  No one does it alone.  Any honest examination, bears witness to this.  This isn’t opinion, it is fact and truth, even in a post-fact and post-truth “reality” celebrated and fueled by the President-Elect.  To not recognize interdependence is to not recognize life and this is the great danger to the success and livelihood of human society and perhaps life as we know it on earth.

As Martin Luther King, Jr states in the above quote, we aren’t going to have peace until we recognize this.

So, if this recognition doesn’t come from the top down, then we will live it from the bottom up.  We will stand, sit, march, sing, shout, write, and paint to bear witness to interdependence, to bear witness to life.