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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 9 |winter 2006 I am still shuddering in dismay over “A Well-Grounded Air Force,” Scott Armstrong’s short report in your Fall issue. Buddhists in the Air Force, Buddhists “applying the teach- ings” so that they can be “strapped into a $40 million fighter jet with nukes on the wings”!? What’s wrong with this picture, folks? What does the Air Force offer to appeal to a real Bud- dhist in the first place? The chance to kill people with nukes? Is everyone missing the forest for the trees? This is the most disgusting “application” of “Buddhism” I have ever seen. I am appalled. Kelly Taylor Littleton, Colorado Kobai Scott Whitney’s critique of North American and Euro- pean Buddhism [Summer 2006] is a timely and sharp criticism of how the Buddha’s teachings have been diluted as a result of co-optation by consumerist capitalism. This co-optation has led to the corruption of sanghas, producing an upper-middle-class audience of Buddhism that seems remarkably sheltered from the harsh realities of the world. I commend Whitney for his engagement with Buddhism, his work in American prisons, and his daring engagement with the culture at large. As a young progressive activist, I am relieved to read a piece in an American Buddhist magazine that goes beyond the sometimes repetitive apolitical and tiptoeing invitations to the dharma. Shinen Wong Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire Living in rural Alaska, I seldom get the opportunity to meet with other practitioners. Robert Aitken’s perceptive writings have been a cornerstone of my practice for years. I was there- fore upset by the tenor of the letters criticizing his reference to a more decent and humane ancestral time [“Time to Remember Our Legacy,” Spring 2006]. Mr. Aitken has sacrificed his life to advance the dharma in the West. One may disagree with what he has done and his teachings, but he deserves gratitude and respect. Even now, some critics say no skillful teaching occurred when the Buddha turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. It was only Mahakashyapa who smiled at that revela- tion, although he tried to control the lines of his face. Peter Ehrhardt Kenai, Alaska CorreCtion: Due to a technical oversight, photographer Elizabeth Cerejido was not credited for the five portraits appear- ing on pages 42 and 43 of the Fall issue. Our apologies to Ms. Cerejido. We Would like to thank the following people for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: the practitioner’s Quarterly: Cindy Bernard • Alejandro Chaoul-Reich • Elisabeth Esho Knutti Ari Goldfield • Michelle Gray • Tobias Klutke Don Lewis • Richard Misrach • Yamamoto Munesuke Anthony Russo • Roland Schmid • Alan Senauke • Michael Sexton Daichi Priscilla Storandt • Eli Williamson-Jones “Donald Rothberg is a remarkably talented teacher whose writing, like his teaching style, is interesting, engaging, upbeat, and—most impor- tantly—hopeful. This is the authori- tative map describing the connection between wisdom and social action, and it does so clearly, simply, nonaca- demically, and entertainingly. The specific practices it offers inspire con- fidence that transforming ourselves and the world is a possibility—which is the best message in the world in times like these.” —Sylvia Boorstein, author of It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness $16.00 PAPERBACK www.beacon.org Over 150 Years of Independent Publishing A PRACTICAL AND INSPIRATIONAL GUIDE TO CONNECTING PERSONAL AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION buddhadharma (Rothberg).qxp 10/4/2006 10:40 AM Page 1