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Buddhadharma : Fall 2011
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 11 62 distinctions into account. Maybe Enkyo can speak to this since she has been doing a beautiful program on contemplative care. pat enKyo o’hara: We can have excellent chaplains who are able to relate very quickly in the hospital setting to a dying person and their family and the staff. We might have someone who is very effective in the chaplaincy community, but may not be at all suitable as what we would call a Zen teacher, someone to be leading long retreats and continuing to trans- mit the dharma. They’re transmitting something else. diana WinSton: The conversation we had at the conference about breadth and depth made it very clear that there are some people who want to go into the cave and practice for twenty or thirty years and that is their way. That’s the perspec- tive they teach from. There are those who are doing secular teachings and bringing them into corporations and schools. As Ken was saying, there’s a broad range. At one point, I looked at the two hundred people at the conference and could see each of them and their activity mov- ing in thousands of different directions, creating a vast man- dala. It’s like Avalokiteshvara, whose picture is on my desk. There are a thousand arms and eyes moving in many different directions. There is a whole. All of the teachers are doing things based on where their heart is. We don’t need to have just one way of teaching. Buddhadharma: That includes teachings by diverse teachers for diverse communities. How was that issue aired at the conference? pat enKyo o’hara: The “next gen” group presented an exercise, led by Vinny Ferraro, from the Mind Body Awareness Proj- ect in Oakland, that is commonly done in diversity training centers. It’s called the power shuffle or “crossing the line.” We lined up, and then a series of characteristics was read off slowly, one at a time: “Cross the line if you’re gay. Cross the line if you’re a woman. Cross the line if you’re African American, or biracial, or Hispanic...” Eventually, we came to a point of seeing how diverse we all are, which can help to break down the idea of a monolithic Western Buddhism. I thought that was a beautiful way to begin a discussion about diversity, so that you could own their roots, as it were. I certainly heard a lot of discussion in small groups and one- on-one conversations triggered by that exercise. diana WinSton: It was amazing that it was done in the context of all these Buddhist teachers. It opened the door on many profound issues. In addition to questions about ethnicity and sexual orientation and so forth, there were also questions about whether you ever experienced abuse, or performed abuse in the teacher’s seat, or have you ever been a victim of some kind of abuse within the dharma community. Lots of people crossed that line, which made me think of the amount Just being around so many young people with so much energy was exhilarating. It also asked us to consider how they are doing and how they can continue to be trained. —Pat Enkyo O’Hara photos a. jesse jiryu davis