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Buddhadharma : Winter 2008
9 winter 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly letters s Jack Kornfield points out in his Com- mentary in Buddhadharma (Fall 2008), we need to extend the compassion and the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings to bring about global social change. Socially engaged Buddhism, however, requires in-depth under- standing of the complexities of geopolitics and grassroots socioeconomic conditions. Kornfield presents the Norwegian-facilitated peace agreement in Sri Lanka in a positive light. In reality, the controversial and nar- rowly conceptualized Norwegian initiative aggravated ethnic and intra-ethnic animosi- ties in Sri Lanka, contributing to the renewal of violence and war. International Buddhist activists need to question conventional wis- dom, including liberal assumptions, when ap- proaching complex global situations. Dr. Asoka Bandarage Author of The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka Washington, D.C. Iwas appalled to see, in the pages of the final pre-election issue of your magazine, a column by Jack Kornfield explicitly endors- ing one of the candidates for president. Your timing made it impossible for your readers to engage. Kornfield was disingenuous, if not hypo- critical, in stating, “I have chosen to work for Barack Obama...though I would never do so from the dharma seat.” Whether the voters elect a man who for twenty years funded a church that taught ra- cial hatred, divisiveness, and personal victim- hood will be decided before you can publish my letter. I am bitterly disappointed in your eleventh-hour entry into a campaign, which only one person can win, and which will have many losers. David Altschul, J.D. Berkeley, California Ifeel a bit sorry for Glenn Wallis, who doesn’t believe in miracles. A dozen years ago, when I first walked into a dharma centre to receive meditation instruction, I came from a place of strong literalism: if I couldn’t see, hear, touch, smell or taste it, it didn’t exist. There was no place for miracles in my world. As I started to practice mindfulness medita- tion and learned to rest in my mind and body, I began to experience things that didn’t fit within my rigid framework: a radiance in my palms in a yoga class, a deep sense of “being” with WAlTOPIEPHOTO:MATTHIEURICARD A