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Buddhadharma : Fall 2014
FALL 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 7 COMMENTARY Which River Will You Cross? ROSHI PAT ENKYO O’HARA is abbot of the Village Zendo in New York and a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Family. A.JESSEJIRYUDAVIS Whether buying products on the Internet or Skyping with our students and teachers, we instantly recognize our interdepen- dence, and yet how about when we walk outside our door? It feels as if the ways of teaching and studying the dharma are changing at an accelerated rate. Today, with apps, blogs, tweets, and podcasts, there are numerous possibilities for connecting with people who are geographically dispersed—so many that it can seem a bit overwhelming. Many of us may feel compelled to use these technologies as tools for sustaining and supporting each other’s practice and the dharma itself. Yet we connect for so little time, and our interaction is so constrained. It gets even more complicated when we ask ourselves, what dharma are we offering? We see the many streams of Buddhism flowing together, along with tributaries of other contemplative tradi- tions and the critical scrutiny of cher- ished texts that floods us each day with new interpretations of former “truths.” Then there is the amazing popularity of mindfulness, often à la carte—that is, shorn of sangha and dharma. in the direction of outspoken and direct social justice. I love the image of the boat that crosses the river of suf- fering, and of the boat captain who is willing to go back and forth across the river, bringing people over. The funny thing is, that’s also how the captain gets over! We might ask ourselves, if we are sharing the dharma stripped of social responsibility, are we truly crossing the river of suffering or merely the river of indifference? As part of Village Zendo’s weeklong meditation retreat, after a morning of practice, the retreat group walks down- town and sits in the New York City arraignments court. This is where those who have been arrested and held in jail are formally read the charges against them and they find out what is next: release, bail, or back to the cell to await trial. When we sit on the benches in the courtroom and watch the stream of troubled people, we witness a different kind of suffering—a suffering arising from poverty, confusion, and anguish. We listen as a woman who sells tamales on the street explains through an inter- preter that she did not know she needed a license to sell food. We listen to the homeless man who is charged with tres- passing for sleeping in an abandoned building, and to the other one who is charged for a third time with sleep- ing on a park bench. The drunks and by Pat Enkyo O'Hara I try to remind myself that this isn’t happening outside of me, that I am inexorably part of this and pastorally responsible for some of it, given that I am living here now. We are all part of the flowing of dharma to this place and time, and we need to ask ourselves, what is missing? For me, what is miss- ing is attention to core issues of social justice—namely, inequality in our com- munities and our world and the ravag- ing of our earth. When we talk about diversity, it is usually about our sanghas. Somehow we complacently ignore the incarceration of minority youth, illegal immigrants, and the poor. We talk about generos- ity, but usually in terms of fortifying dharma assets rather than addressing the inequality of wages and opportunity that we see around us. We are worried that the distractions of Internet media are distorting the focus of the intellec- tual class, but we may also be ignoring the chasm growing between those who have access to these distractions and those who do not. Of course, none of us can address all of these issues, but in our teaching and study of the dharma, we need to recognize the structural suf- fering that exists in this moment and in this place where the buddhadharma is flowing. My hope is that we Buddhist practi- tioners will turn today’s dharma wheel Melvin McLeod EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tynette Deveaux EDITOR Seth Levinson ART DIRECTOR Koun Franz DEPUTY EDITOR Rory Lindsay REVIEW EDITOR Jane Doucet COPY EDITOR James Gimian PUBLISHER Edward Boyce ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, NEW MEDIA Alan Brush ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, CIRCULATION Claudia Chender ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, ADVERTISING Carol Millett CIRCULATION ASSOCIATE Cindy Littlefair OPERATIONS & HUMAN RESOURCES Daniel Scott PUBLISHING OFFICE ASSOCIATE Andrew Glencross PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Kenneth Swick CONTROLLER ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Sharon Munson, Account Representative 1-877-422-8404 ext 39, firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Laybolt, Account Representative 1-877- 422-8404, ext 31, email@example.com EDITORIAL & CENTRAL BUSINESS OFFICE 1660 Hollis St., Suite 701, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 1V7 Tel.: (902) 422-8404; Fax: (902) 423-2701 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org U.S. OFFICE 1790 30th St., Suite 280, Boulder, CO 80301 SUBSCRIPTIONS Toll-free customer service: 1-877-786-1950; Email: email@example.com RETAIL SALES Ron Murray, National Publisher Services Tel.: 732-946-0112; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribers may receive mailings from selected organizations. If you wish to decline these mailings, please contact Subscription Services. MOVING? Please notify us six weeks in advance of your address change. We cannot be responsible for issues that the post office does not forward. www.thebuddhadharma.com Shambhala Sun Foundation An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK the following people and organizations for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Lydia Anderson • Bau-Xi Gallery • Edward Brown • A. Jesse Jiryu Davis Tenzin Dharlo / Himalayan Art Resources • Anjas Glas • Esteban Hollander Connie Jones • Peggy Jarrell Kaplan • Margot Koch Vivian Kurz / Shechen Archives • Kiyonobu Kuwahara • Wendy Lewis Jay Pennington • Marcus Perman / Tsadra Foundation • Danielle Poitras Steven Pomije • Sabai Gallery • Meredith Skowronski • Vicki Smith Massimo Strazzeri • Seiko Uyeda • Beth Wallace • Tobi Wilkinson Masao Yamamoto • Grant Young / Cambridge University Library