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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
ANGEL KYODO WILLIAMS 75 all nonbelievers, take their possessions, and “reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.” Hence we have this myth of someone “discover- ing” a place that’s already there, where people already are. (A fellow once said to me, “If you want to see how much of a myth it is, just leave your purses and your wallets here, and let me discover them.” See how that feels.) The Doctrine of Discovery completely upended what our spiri- tual path is supposed to be about and tainted it, poisoned it with white supremacy. And then that poison was brought to this land and we were partitioned, separated from one another and from our birthright. It’s important to learn those stories. If you don’t seek them out, you fall into the true meaning of the poison of ignorance: wrong knowing. It’s not, I just didn’t know, I had no idea. The poi- son of ignorance is willful wrong knowing. Consider the construct of the three poisons. There’s a reason it includes anger, which has a momentum, a direction, a willfulness to it. There’s also greed, which has its own negative momentum and willfulness. So why would ignorance be neutral? Too many of us escape through the doorway of ignorance: Oh, I didn’t know any better. Too many of us have been resting in ignorance for far too long. This is where your liberation is on the line. Many people in posi- tions of dominance don’t know their own story. They don’t know their story in the way that when you’re marginalized, you are forced to know your story, to understand that you have a story, that you’re affected by a larger story, and that you’re working with all of it. When you presume that this is just the way it is, or that you got here on your own strengths, then you don’t recognize that you even have a story. That process has to unfold—people need to hear tes- timony that reveals how patriarchy has limited them in their white male bodies, how it has limited their ability to feel and express love.