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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 57 |fall 2006 Buddhists, participating in our group at Duke, we are also part of an intra-Buddhist group of people involved in various kinds of prison ministries, so we can meet the needs of Buddhist inmates and Buddhists who volunteer to serve inmates in North Carolina prisons. duncan williamS: I think we need more activities that are in the spirit of this conversation. It may be that we will have more councils and other kinds of formal settings for intra-Buddhist interaction, but more basically, we need to get to know, to engage in dialogue with, and to appreciate and learn from our Buddhists neighbors. Our own Buddhist tradi- tion provides us with imagery that can inspire us, such as the jewel net of Indra from the Avatamsaka Sutra: the universe is made of an infinite number of jewels extending in every direction, and each of these jewels is connected in a massive net, and each jewel reflects all of the other jewels. We need to recognize our interconnectedness as Buddhists in this particular neck of the woods called America. At a simpler level, we need a spirit of neighborli- ness. Our neighbors may have very different ways of doing things, but we can all get along. waKoh Shannon hicKey: That reminds me of some advice that Thich Nhat Hanh has given to people who are interested in Buddhism. He tells them if you’re raised in some other tradition, don’t move off your roots too quickly. There is definitely value in going deeply into a particular tradition – study- ing it and practicing it deeply and wholeheartedly – instead of taking a smorgasbord approach, tast- ing a little of this and a little bit of that. At a cer- tain point, though, going deeply into a particular tradition opens one to other traditions and enables one to make connections to other people from a deeply rooted place. To use another common Buddhist image, if we plant our roots deeply, we can let our branches spread. Socho ogui: Let’s keep doing this kind of work, so we can build up our interrelationships and under- stand that we are different streams that end up alike in the ocean of dharma. Photos(toPtobottom):tobiasKlutKe;donfarber. (Top) Members of the Village Zendo, New York City. (Bottom) Temporarily ordained monks from the Vietnamese Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles.