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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
74 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY marginalized people are going to figure it out for themselves. The fact that they have joy in their hearts at all is phenomenal, given the weight that they bear in their trans bodies, their queer bodies, their disabled bodies, their neurodiverse bodies, their female bodies, their Black bodies. We should celebrate them all, because anyone who has insisted on liberation so that they may know joy and love represents for the rest of us the possibility, the promise that the dharma puts before us and says, yes, liberation is possible even for you. Libera- tion is possible even for you. A problem of the dharma today is that it has become so limited. It has become constricted inside of a kind of fear. We want to main- tain control of it, so we resist it evolving as it always has. We try to fashion the dharma within the limitations of a marketplace mind- set—what will sound better to make this sell better? We’ve made it as limited as we can possibly make it, and as a result we no longer subscribe to the promise of liberation. We think, oh, we’ll just do this nice thing where we’ll meditate and we’ll be nicer people, we’ll be more compassionate and wiser, and as we do, we never say the word “love.” What’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with a culture that doesn’t have love as its central value? In this smallness, we miss the opportunity before us to liberate ourselves from the obscurations that keep us from knowing who we are, from knowing each other, from knowing that our birthright is exactly love. Obscuring the path of liberation for us all, simply put, is race. And when I say race, I mean race and ethnicity and heritage and skin color and all of those things that we have conflated into it for hun- dreds of years. More than five centuries ago, Pope Nicholas V, in his Doctrine of Discovery, told European Christians to go forth and con- quer even those “in the remotest parts unknown to us all.” He gave permission to “invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue”