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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
78 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY You don’t get to not engage. You don’t get to decide on your own that this is just how it is, because you cannot possibly understand the nature of your mind without understanding the nature of the col- lective mind. And in this country, the nature of the collective mind is oppression. It is white supremacy. It is patriarchy. That is what we were born into. If we do not understand the nature of it, how it unfolds, then we can’t see how it lives in us. We can’t understand how we push the gears of it every single day. Are you one day going to extract yourself from it completely? I have no idea. That’s not an interesting question. Just get started. People sometimes get the idea that maybe they’re going to solve it. Maybe, maybe not. But you don’t get to use not solving it as an excuse: “I’m not going to earn a single dime because I may not earn a million dollars”; “I’m not sure I’m able to solve world hunger, so I’m not going to do anything.” That is the most childish kind of excuse-making. If that’s your thinking, then you’re done. You’ve already used up all of the air you’re entitled to. Outcomes are not our business. We don’t get to decide the out- comes. The quest for certainty, for purity, is all bound up in white supremacy. This quest for having the answer, knowing exactly how it’s going to unfold, being able to control, to dominate—it’s domina- tor culture. Free yourself. Get yourself out of that. Because if you’re not working to get out, it’s got you. That’s the only way it works. No one, not one single one of us escapes from perpetuating domina- tion. We are born into it; it is the language that we all share. You may not speak English, but if you were raised in this country, you speak domination. You may not know your history, but you are complicit in white supremacy if you are not actively working against it. I don’t care what color you are. No one escapes. Those who don’t see it, who don’t want to see it, are trying to fabricate liberation. They’re trying to give themselves a way to own