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Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
SPRING 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 9 LETTERS WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS AT: LETTERS@THEBUDDHADHARMA.COM A.JESSEJIRYUDAVIS Having read the Forum “Why Is American Buddhism So White?” and Jan Willis’ article “Yes, We’re Buddhists Too!” (Winter 2011), we commend you on your excellent selection of participants and authors. It is a very brave deci- sion to engage with the nuanced and emotive themes of insti- tutional racism in the West; by all appearances, you have done so successfully. No doubt these voices will resonate with an important demographic of Buddhist America. Engaging with the theme of diversity—even the cultivation of a more diverse list of authors—does not necessarily address the marginalization of Asian American voices. We realize this particular concern was not the focus of the Winter issue, but it is a concern that we hope your publications can keep in mind for future issues. We wish you all the best in your pursuit of a more inclusive Buddhadharma. Your publication appears to be making good progress in this regard. Arun and Liriel Los Angeles and Boston It is ironic that the Winter 2011 issue, which contains such excellent discussions about African-American Buddhists, also contains an article that uses derogatory, divisive language that can only hinder the opening to and recognition of all peoples. Philosophically and spiritually, I am at home with Santideva, Nagarjuna, and others of their school. But I have also learned much from the suttas in the Pali canon. It is, therefore, distressing to read the derogatory terms “Hinay- ana” and “the lower Buddhist philosophical schools” in an article by the Dalai Lama, no less. Kenneth Daly Princeton, New Jersey In Ken McLeod’s article “What to do When Energy Runs Wild” (Winter 2011) he mentions two approaches that can be employed in dealing with imbalances. However, in working with energy like this we’ve found another way that is actu- ally more effective and gets to the core of the issue, which is that blocks of this sort always have an origination point (often in our childhood) during which time the block is held as a kind of protective mechanism. In order to work with a block on this level, the practitioner must essentially treat it as we do koans in Zen—that is, one must become one with the actual feeling/sensation. Then, through absolute experience without any avoidance, the wisdom of the block is revealed and the memory of the original holding becomes conscious. When the holding becomes conscious, the road to releasing it is then opened. The process of becoming one with the physi- cal aspect of the block is a powerful practice, which can take some time to fully actualize, but is highly effective. Sensei Al Rapaport Director, Open Mind Zen Melbourne, Florida Iread with much appreciation “Nothing is Unimportant” in the Winter 2011 issue (First Thoughts). At the time I was also re-reading Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. This book may be very inspiring for anyone drawn to the article’s advice to develop “the habit of continual mindfulness.” Brother Lawrence says, “He (God) does not withhold His grace from those who earnestly ask Him for it. Knock on His door and keep on knocking and I will assure you that if you are not discouraged, He will open it in His own good time and will give you all at once what He has withheld for years.” In Buddhist terms, earnest effort at continual mindfulness will eventually bring a stable sense of loving connection and presence. Mike Keller Houston, Texas Sensei Anthony Stultz’s article, “The One Heart of Flight 93” (Winter 2011), on officiating at the tenth anniversary memorial there last fall had deep resonance for me. It touched beautifully on so many manifestations of the heart of one- ness. In a short space he covered a wealth of teachings, from the wisdom of “not knowing” to the practice of bearing wit- ness, and to “just being.” The article soared and inspired, just like the sea of dragonflies that appeared as the memorial came to a close. Thank you so much. John Pollard Toronto, Ontario Correction: The photograph that appeared on page 42 of the Winter 2011 issue was taken by Sjoerd Witteveen. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK the following people and organizations for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Akkupa • Julie Bernstein • David Brewster • Margo Conover • Kelly Delay James Gritz • Himalayan Art Resources • Sasha Y. Kimel • Rossi & Rossi Rubin Museum of Art • Marcia Schmidt • Michael Seto • Ang Tsherin Sherpa