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Suffering Caused by Economic Injustice

Maia 4NTPhoto by Maia Duerr

 

Suffering Caused by Economic Injustice

by Maia Duerr

 

The First Noble Truth. The way that you phrase it makes all the difference.

It’s often translated as “Life is suffering,” and yet that wording may inadvertently create the conditions for apathy and disengagement. If life is suffering, why bother with anything? If life is suffering, it makes little sense to involve ourselves with worldly actions meant to relieve that suffering. “Life is suffering” becomes another way to say, “That’s just the way things are,” and that is the antithesis of engaged Buddhism and an activist’s sensibility. We are out to question things as they are, and to re-imagine a way of being that may alleviate suffering.

Yep, it’s a paradox for sure – the dharma helps us to be with things as they are, and yet our bodhisattva vow calls for us to soften suffering in whatever way we can.

So maybe it is more helpful, more empowering, to think of the First Noble Truth like this: there is suffering in life. The suffering that comes from living in this human body and being subject to illness and aging and death… the suffering that comes from grasping for what we do not have, and from wanting to push away that which we have but don’t want. Dharma teachings and the practice of meditation give us incredibly powerful ways to work with these kinds of suffering.

But then there are other kinds of suffering that human-made systems have generated. As David Loy has done a marvelous job of articulating in his book The Great Awakenening: A Buddhist Social Theory those systems are often the congealed and collectivized forms of the three poisons: greed, anger, and delusion. This is when it absolutely makes sense to question the notion, “That’s just the way things are.”

In this series of essays, I want to explore the suffering caused by economic injustice, and the path to liberation from it using the Four Noble Truths as a framework.

But first I have to be honest and tell you this:

I am tired of theory, tired of speculation.

This is not me judging anyone else. This is me being honest about the depth of my involvement in social change right now, taking responsibility for my engagement, and wanting to re-align it in a more true way with my dharma practice.

It’s relatively easy for me to think and write about big topics such as racism, poverty, and environmental devastation – in the abstract. It’s much harder to have a personal relationship with the consequences of those things, to feel into the suffering that is present, and to live in the deeply ambiguous space of how to respond or if it even matters at all if we respond these days, given the momentum of despair and the tyranny of power and capitalism we live within.

But of course it does matter. It matters a great deal. To me, that is one of the hallmarks of socially engaged Buddhism – even if a task seems hopeless, it is our practice to be present to it and to respond. I am reminded of this powerful quote:

It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task.

Yet, you are not free to desist from it.”
 
~Rabbi Tarfon

 
I am feeling a yearning to ground my understanding of economic injustice more clearly in this place that I live, that I have called my home for the past five years: northern New Mexico. So as I start this yearlong journey of exploring the Four Noble Truths along with you, I want to use this as a way to work my own edges, to show up, to really practice.

I dug in a little bit to learn more about sites of suffering here where I live. Thanks to some groundwork done by the New Mexico field office of Interfaith Worker Justice, here are some things I found out about my adopted home state:

  • A fifth of New Mexico’s population, about 426,000 people, had incomes below the federal poverty threshold in 2012. Of the 50 states, only Mississippi has a higher rate of poverty.
  • New Mexico has one of the highest rates of food insecurity, with almost 30% of the state’s children suffering from hunger.
  • The average number of persons who are homeless on any given night in Albuquerque is 1,170.
  • New Mexico’s suicide rate is one-and-a-half to two times higher 
than the national average.
  • New Mexico ranks 50th – last – in child well-being, with 62% of New Mexico children ages 3 and 4 not attending preschool and 79% of NM fourth graders not proficient in reading. Eleven percent of New Mexico teens (13,000) are 
neither in school nor working.

 

That’s what suffering looks like in numbers.

How about stories?

Because, as the late poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser once said, the world is made up of stories, not atoms.

 

Here in Santa Fe, some of the stories go like this –

 

  • Lauren, a 58 year old woman who lives in her vehicle. She worked as a school teacher for 8 years, and most recently worked as a caretaker for an estate in Santa Fe until that job ended. Lauren is new to homelessness. She is dealing with the onset of painful rheumatoid arthritis as well as depression and grief over the loss of a child.
  • Sheila is a Native American woman who grew up in New Mexico’s foster care system. After a 15-year career as a firefighter, she developed kidney cysts. Later she was hit by a car and sustained serious back injuries, and she could not afford medical treatment. Hurt and unable to work, she lost her job, and some months later her unemployment compensation ran out. Along with her two sons and their dog, she sleeps in a salvaged vehicle. Louis struggles to speak without crying and says she’s afraid she’s “gonna go postal.” “I’m watching this homeless thing just rip us apart,” she says.

 

These stories come from a grassroots group called “Need and Deed” here in Santa Fe. As I go through this year of exploring this issue, I plan to drop in on some of their weekly meetings. Next week I’ll go to the Roundhouse (that’s what we call our state capitol) when the local Interfaith Worker Justice group will present a “moral budget” for the state of New Mexico – all of this is part of my intention to become more intimate with poverty as it shows up right here.

As I begin this journey into economic injustice using the lens of the Four Noble Truths, my biggest questions are:
Does it have to be this way?
How did it get this way?
And what is the path of liberation from this suffering for Lauren, Sheila, and so many others like them?

 

Here’s a spoiler alert:

I’ve already concluded it doesn’t have to be this way.

More on that when we reflect on the Second Noble Truth.

Maia Zenyu Duerr is an anthropologist, writer, and student of liberation.

She practices in the Soto Zen lineage of Suzuki Roshi, with Victoria Shosan Austin as her teacher and guide. In 2012, she received ordination as a lay Buddhist chaplain from Roshi Joan Halifax.

From 2004-2008, Maia worked at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship where she served as executive director and editor of Turning Wheel magazine. For the past six years, she has been the director of the Upaya Zen Center Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. She also serves on the faculty of the Buddhist Education for Social Transformation project, based at the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice center in northern Thailand.

Maia’s writing can be found on her website, The Liberated Life Project. She is also the curator of a blog on socially engaged Buddhism called The Jizo Chronicles.

Robert Aitken Roshi, carrying his signature sign at a protest

About BPF’s The System Stinks

Buddhist social justice curriculum

To help promote collective liberation and subvert the highly individualistic bent of much mainstream dharma these days, Buddhist Peace Fellowship presents our second year of The System Stinks — a collection of Buddhist social justice media named for the favorite protest sign of one of our founders, Robert Aitken, Roshi.

This year, we’ve asked some of our favorite dharma teachers, practitioners, and activists to reflect on the Four Noble Truths — suffering; the causes of suffering; cessation of suffering; and a path to cessation — from a systemic, social justice perspective.

[Updated to add: Other Buddhist groups from around the world have also used the Four Noble Truths as a lens for social movements: for good examples, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, and the Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka. In a U.S.-based context (not predominantly Buddhist), where mindfulness is increasingly separated from ethics, we are eager to uphold this social justice tradition.

If you like what you see, please comment and share to show the world another side of Buddhism!

We are deeply grateful to the teachers and practitioners who lend their voices to this cause. In alignment with our media justice values, all contributors to the 2014 series have been offered humble compensation for their work.

You can support engaged Buddhist media makers by donating to BPF.

Comments (15)

  • bezi

    “It’s relatively easy for me to think and write about big topics such as racism, poverty, and environmental devastation – in the abstract. It’s much harder to have a personal relationship with the consequences of those things, to feel into the suffering that is present, and to live in the deeply ambiguous space of how to respond or if it even matters at all if we respond these days, given the momentum of despair and the tyranny of power and capitalism we live within.”

    At least you realize this. In my experience, lot of people don’t. The McMindful Upper Middle Way is, best I can tell, basically escapist, all about tuning out, withdrawing to privatized oases of gauzy, heavy-lidded quasi-mysticism so insular from the suffering of others it appears, from the outside, nearly drugged.

    You bet it matters. There’s a lot of unrest in the world. Nicely padded, well fed Buddhists in elite retreat centers may be avoiding for the moment the consequences of racism, poverty and environmental degradation. They’d WANT to think very carefully about one of Buddhism’s most central realizations, change is inevitable. The longer Western sanghas drag their feet over these matters, the more it’s gonna blow chunks in the long run.

    The state of California’s in a deep drought. Life can’t endure without water. Never m,ind technology. The tribulations are on our doorstep.

    Da Vinci said “it’s easier to resist at the beginning than it is at the end.”

    I can’t think of any other solution but forging authentic, if not always sugar-coated, relationships of mindful solidarity with those who have endured or are enduring said conditions and can frame them within Buddhist precepts. Trust me. They’re out here. Some have posed comprehensive solutions. Who’s truly paying attention is anyone’s damn guess…

    I hear you on tiredness for theory and speculation. What further fatigues me is the feeling that I’m caught up in a kind of (no dis! and due respect and luv to erry’body) circle-jerk. Yea, it sucks. Isn’t it a shame? Boy, we should do something. Thich said we should be activists. Loy said something. Dalai Lama said something. Gee isn’t it a shame? Man, I feel bad for you…

    I may be crabby from my own personal isolation. But various iterations of the same three or four riffs keep getting played in these discussions.

    Whether or not this dialoguing is having any tangible effect whatsoever is completely unclear. It’s REDUNDANT! What’s needed is face-time. Meetings. Platforms. Strategies. Forums. People need to be in proximity to each other, telling their truths in an environment where mutual respect and compassion are required and expected and our shared traditions are mindfully employed toward those ends.

    I suspect dharma is a potential platform for meaningful organizing. What I’m sure of is that it’s not meant to be a dinner party.

    *shaking head* ~ ‘committees of clergy and laymen concerned…’

  • Richard Modiano

    I quite agree with everything you’ve written above bezi.

    Here in Los Angeles there are horizontally organized grass roots outfits that making a difference: Food Not Bombs, Revolutionary Autonomous Communities that holds free stores with the reclaimed and repaired detritus of capitalism, the Bus Riders Union, Cop Watch L.A., Rise Up Radio a pirate micro radio station, Queer Anarchist Youth that saves kids from the predations of the cops and the streets, and my outfit the IWW currently organizing restaurant workers.

    Bourgeois Buddhists will have to transcend their class interests by first becoming aware of those interests, and I’m not holding my breath for that to happen soon. The founders of BPF said it was their task to bring Buddhism to the peace movement and the peace movement to Buddhists. Today we’re talking about bringing Buddhism to the social justice movement and the social justice movement to Buddhism; I’d say it’s easier to bring Buddhism to the social justice movement then vice versa.

  • Katie Loncke

    while i’m with y’all on the desire for action, not just talk, i want to gently push back on the idea that reflecting on problems is a “circle jerk” exercise…

    bezi, you mention that you might be feeling crabby from your own personal isolation. from what i understand, you’re making a brave choice to try to commit to a longer-term sangha where you can really dig in deep with dharma. which is awesome… and probably takes up a lot of time? what would help you feel nurtured and useful and productive in political community? do you feel like there’s a way that your sanghas could take stronger political action that would help you feel like it’s less talk, more action?

    Richard, you offer a list of great orgs and work — I’ve probably been involved with similar versions of a lot of them, including the wobs! in my experience it is often tough, thankless, very unpaid work, work that requires swimming the sharky seas of union aristocracy, NGO shenanigans, personality clashes, oppressive dynamics within groups, and all manner of setbacks courtesy of bosses and the state. it’s also wonderful and necessary, and there are beautiful friendships and interconnecting communities of solidarity to be built.

    what’s interesting to me is that when we as buddhists talk about the suffering we see, there’s sometimes this indignant reaction of “okay you’re talking, but what are you *doing*?”

    which, on one hand i totally sympathize with, because i share the frustration with lofty-talk radicalism.

    but on the other hand, let’s at least ask, rather than assuming that the writer is just posturing? if what we want from them is a concrete example of the social justice work they’re doing, can we figure out a way to ask nicely about that? lol, i mean damn!

    also if it’s any consolation, this piece is part of a year-long, four part series on the four noble truths & social justice, so the 3rd and 4th parts, on knowing the possibility of liberation, and discussing the path to get there, might be what you’re looking forward to? :)

  • Maia Duerr/Liberated Life Project

    Hey all,

    I am just catching up with these comments today…. I will create some time to respond in more depth in the next few days, but just want to thank folks for their engagement with the article.

    more soon,
    maia

  • nathan

    Part of the challenge, as I see it, is how to sustain ourselves over the long haul. My activist history has always had periods of ebb and flow. It’s been rare in my adult life that I haven’t been involved in some sort of “doing.” However, sometimes it’s much less than others. And I think that has to be ok.

    Here’s why I say this. First off, every heavy activity period has been followed by a crash. I’ve given my all and then some. Usually hitting a point where I loose my balance, introspective awareness, and ability to maintain “big picture, long view” thinking. Something I don’t think is very wise.

    Secondly, when I look around at my fellow activists, the ones who are the most cranky, abusive, and prone to recreating oppressive structures in different forms are almost always the ones who rarely look inward, never doubt or question their own take on the world, and usually are in a constant state of hopping.

    Finally, I tend to think of action and involvement along a continuum. Over the past three to four months, the bulk of my “involvement” has been in offering support to a handful of friends currently on the front lines. Sharing practices and teachings, and just listening and giving them space to be. It’s hardly visible, and not at all sexy. But I damn well know that if I hadn’t had the same support during my peak periods, I would have cracked.

    We need to honor a flow between different kinds of beneficial action. That folks don’t have to constantly put up current power activist cred in order to be taken seriously.

    The endless foot dragging and inaction are a different issue from this. Because the bulk of folks involved there have rarely, if ever, been active beyond voting and other highly passive political activities. And they also don’t really see the forest for the trees on the majority of big issues facing us. Many have good hearts, but their lack of critical awareness leads them to uphold the system as it is for the most part.

    As the head of my sangha’s board, I’ve been wading into all this for a good seven years now. It sometimes feels like Sisyphus and his damned boulder. I mean, to even be able to talk about this stuff – let alone spark more than a handful of people into action — let’s just say that I’ve experienced some redundant conversations in my sangha about taking baby steps on addressing things like lack of diverse representation that make the conversations here look like dreams.

    Many days, I feel like Richard does in terms of not holding my breath for the middle/upper middle class Buddhists to break through their class interest allegiance. I can say this from long term, first hand inside a sangha experience.

    I think part of the circle jerk is that we don’t know what to do. I/you bezi/Maia – those of us who have had a deep commitment to justice and overturning oppressive systems. We’re all kind of stuck. Or it feels that way. Maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m misreading things. Maybe something big IS shifting that we just don’t see. But I sure as hell feel like there’s a lot of Sisyphus to deal with right now.

  • Belinda G

    A jewel from Maia and all y’all. Thank you. One other thing that jumped for me in reading the piece and your comments: the burnout and lack of solidarity and lack of skill in building power are, in my view, very much connected to our confused sense of ourselves as individual actors. This is of course a lot more intense for the privileged who are more successful in creating the conditions in which they/we can FEEL like individual monads. One of the great gifts of the Dharma is the truth/experience we can have of deep interconnection. In “my” practice, focusing purposefully on this experience (both on the cushion and at meetings, direct actions, all of it) has been hugely transformative in terms of my energy level and ability to hang with the uncertainty and craziness of our time while keeping up the good fight. I guess what I’m saying is that there are practices (many of which Joanna Macy pioneered – not too many “traditional” practices that I know of except Tonglen and Metta) that can support us in this very sticking point, and can unlock a LOT of energy and power in us individually and in groups. This support also allows me to harvest some of the very juicy gifts of uncertainty (more on that in this video: http://www.joannamacy.net/multimedia/videos/213-uncertainty-video.html). Peace out.

  • Christopher Fisher

    Thanks to Maia for beginning a stimulating conversation, and to bezi et al, for the equally illuminating comments.

    I come to the conversation from a background in journalism and a growing focus on creating sustainable local & democratic foodsheds, primarily through promoting the progressive California Grange movement. I’m consequently quite connected to a very broad array of North Bay folks through my work – from the very white, old, privileged & wealthy to struggling middle class families to young activists of every ethnicity to very under-privileged & largely Latino farm and field workers.

    I must say in nearly thirty years of political activism I’ve never seen so much untapped desire for creating just & lasting communities from such an array of political and personal perspectives. I believe there most definitely IS something extraordinary going on right now, but it does require an intentional, careful look behind the veil of consumer capitalism & business-as-usual to see. Never before have I seen or heard or participated in so many varied conversations about systemic problems such as inequality, class, and justice; subjects which have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream. Hard times for so many of us and the Occupy movement have most definitely broadened the conversation.

    Yet I very much identified with what bezi said, “I may be crabby from my own personal isolation. But various iterations of the same three or four riffs keep getting played in these discussions.” My own crabbiness is in part due to my impatience and a sense of urgency – I feel that middle age clock ticking and want to find ways to build/create (right now) that world I want my daughters to live in.

    The Bourgeois Buddhas – we need to keep encouraging them to remove their lenses and stretch their boundaries.
    Definitely feels a Sisyphean struggle at times, but perhaps its not so important what, specifically, we do or the direct, visible results. Maybe the important part is simply that we do it. And repeat.

    Thanks to all for sharing the energizing conversation – I look forward to the next

  • Maia Duerr/Liberated Life Project

    Hi everyone and again, thanks for engaging so passionately with what I wrote.

    The first thing I want to say is how imperfect I’m feeling online dialogues are as a way to communicate our thoughts and feelings, and to connect with each other. It’s probably impossible for you to really know who I am or where I come from from this short piece that I wrote, riffing off the First Noble Truth. (And yes, as Katie points out, it is part of a series so it was intended to draw readers toward what comes next in the further unpacking of social suffering from a dhammic point of view, not to stand on its own necessarily.)

    Bezi, I hear your frustration and the pain that comes from isolation. Just to give you a better sense of who I am: 52 years old, white, lesbian, female, grew up outside of Los Angeles in a middle-class family but also one in which I got a big download of anxiety and fear from a mom who grew up working class/poor during the Great Depression… also had the interesting experience of growing up white and yet being in the minority as my school and friends were predominately Chicano/a… I’ve been practicing the dharma for almost 20 years now, and yes, some of those years have been at what you might call “elite retreat centers.” In the multi-layered reality that is structural oppression I have benefited from privilege in a number of ways and also experienced oppression in some significant ways as well. My intention is to be aware of my privilege and use it to leverage more justice and equity for everyone. I don’t always succeed. I’ve made some pretty big mistakes and have certainly had my own points of ignorance…

    I value reflection and action pretty equally, having found that either one without the either seems to result in an imbalance at best, and re-creating the very oppressive conditions we seek to liberate ourselves from at worst. Over the years, I’ve experienced being a very burned-out mental health worker as well as activist, and have found it necessary to step back and go more deeply into meditation practice to find nourishment. (I appreciate what Nathan wrote about the cycles we go through.) And yes, I’ve had the privilege of doing that, something I am aware is not available to everyone. But I’ve also made contemplative practice an organizing principle in my life…. I’ve chosen to live and practice in Zen Centers at times because they are the closest things I know of in our society to communal living and socialist values. I would invite you to not always assume that those who spend time in deep retreat are pushing away the realities of social and environmental suffering. (Though of course that is the case with some folks.)

    I totally agree with you that what’s needed is to forge “authentic, if not always sugar-coated, relationships of mindful solidarity with those who have endured or are enduring said conditions and can frame them within Buddhist precepts.” And like you, I get very tired of talk that is not connected to any tangible action. That is what I think I was trying to share in this first post… in my particular case, I have been feeling a disconnect from the folks in my own community who are experiencing the direct effects of a terribly unjust economic system, and so I am taking this writing assignment as a means to remedy that disconnect. My intention is that in doing so, I can bring my practice into the equation over and over, and have both practice as well as a more intimate relationship with the issue inform whatever actions I take or get involved with. That’s where I’m headed with all this… thanks for taking the ride along with me.

    gassho,
    Maia

  • bezi

    Huh! My absence, then a real conversation! That’s nice. Yup yup: well let me just jump on in and roll it all out ~

    Being here at Green Gulch Zen Center (http://www.sfzc.org/ggf/) and experiencing >>>REAL<<< sangha probably for the first time, talking, participating, eating good regularly (make a big difference!) and the whole jump-off, has gotten me much firmer about where I stand on a lot of things. Richard: I'm right with you on not asphyxiating over the Buddhist bourgeoisie transcending their class interests in the name of meaningful social transformation, but being where the global financial system is fissuring and fracturing more and more every day, a moment is on the horizon where there'll be no choice. From my vantage point, unlike other historical periods where mostly Leftists theorized hopefully about the approaching self destruction of free market capitalism — we're almost out of clean air, food, water, and are actively causing massive species die-off. "Unsustainable" is putting it far too generously. So while I also agree wholeheartedly that it's easier to bring Buddhism to the social justice movement then vice versa, my experience here has really convinced me that we have to try and keep a space open for the possibility of bringing the movement to Buddhism. Conversations I'm having here demonstrate vividly this tradition's capacity for turning people on to the real, true, authentic work of both inner and outer transformation. I'm just gonna say this flatly: if what's going on here was occurring throughout American Buddhism, we'd have a legit crack at a party.

    Katie: actually, allow me to push back. The circle jerk comment may have been an overly self-righteous projection – one jerk (me) standing alone in a would-have-been circle like "oh that's how ya'll feel?" At the time of that writing I was looking at an eviction through progressively blurry eyes (literally), getting no support and precious little input even from my family, dealing with the reality of being 45 and in the throes of a full blown midlife crisis and feeling a tad ridiculous for being such a cliché after a lifetime of radicalness (what a time for one of those, eh?), hearing about the deteriorating health of my dear aunt (who died two days ago), feeling the dryness in the Oakland air and feeling angry, panicked and powerless, and the whole general run of the situation in the world as it presents in this moment. Yuck. So it's true that I'm committing to longer term sangha life but I don't know if it's so much braveness as sheer practicality. I see the writing on the wall. There's only one way forward for me, and it IS sangha. As to the question of what would help me feel nurtured and useful and productive in political community, it's right here at GG! *Cheshire Cat grin* I've got some freshly minted ideas about how to push stronger political action, sitting in as I did on a group here called EcoSattvas. More coming on that…

    Nathan: driving activism hard and then crashing and burning is real talk. I made this point before but it's worth making again to second what you said: we gotta learn to cut ourselves some damn slack round hurr. Nobody can keep it lit 24-7 and not take on some heavy suffering just at the biological level, never mind emotional, mental, spiritual. Sisyphus definitely comes to mind for me as well but not, in my case, for not knowing what to do. I came up with a whole platform. Nobody bit. It may be completely senseless, but I'd never know that because nobody gave it time of day. So until someone comes along and convincingly tears it to pieces, I'm gonna stick to it being, to some extent, plausible. What's Sisyphean for me is, or has been, trying to get someone to pass me the freaking mic.

    Christopher: JEEYUH! Exactly. I couldn't see a single thing I disagreed with in your post. It's really true – people are widely fed up and ready for something major but haven't discovered exactly what. I'll possibly address that before this post is up. We've got to keep driving this thing forward. Experientially I can feel myself making inroads here. It's boosted my confidence in myself and us collectively. With the array of projects you're working on and your location, we may actually share one or two mutual acquaintances! Wouldn't THAT be a hoot?

    Maia: what can I say? THANK YOU for starting the most engaged conversation I've had @ BPF so far. Someone at GG with similar though not identical demographics spoke of what drew her to the Dharma and it just underscored what you highlighted and I commented on in another thread. There is universality to suffering. We get different brands but it all comes from the same factory. Existence. This I really identified with: "I’ve chosen to live and practice in Zen Centers at times because they are the closest things I know of in our society to communal living and socialist values." Umm… e – YEAH! Real talk. Too much good around here! Idyllic – and I don't use that word frivolously. Before this post I was looking at the fact that we were talking about a single face-to-face meeting and thinking arr um – didn't the Freedom Riders need to meet more than once every half a year? That was the wrong reference point. This is a very different time. What probably compounds our suffering is the reality, generally speaking, of having to recreate Revolution to consciously compliment and propel Evolution. Where is the roadmap for THAT? No commandments have come from on high and as Buddhists, we're not particularly looking up there for them. Accordingly, we have to do for self. That means we're freestyling, making it all up on the fly. Of COURSE it's a slog!

    Okay. As promised, here's something I found while researching for a book I've decided to write: an apparently global organization called Wave of Action which promises 2014 will be The Year Everything Changes

    https://waveofaction.org/we-are-a-movement-of-movements/

    Well, you're all hip to our tradition of bowing as a sign of abiding respect, solidarity and gratitude for this wonderful fellow traveler you've had the great fortune of encountering on this tough journey. In exactly that spirit I press my palms earnestly over my heart and gassho thrice.

  • Kogen 古 元

    Amazing. I’m saying, isn’t there a house somewhere for all of us to turn this wheel of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha!? I vote New Orleans!

    Anyway, thank you all so much. And Bezi, see you at breakies! So nice to have you here at GGF. Stay 10 years or so.

  • Katie Loncke

    **swoon**!!! :)

    Yay, enjoy GGF, you two!

  • bezi

    Jeeyuh. Now you see there? Royght! There ought to be a spot somewhere. I’m down for N’awlins but that may (or may not) be on the rugged side of things for some of us. Ish would get real quick (lol). Damn… citta in Congo Square? That’s RAW. Missed you somehow @ breakfast but glad we caught up at that fab lunch

    Anyhoo mm-hmm! I think this swooning is appropriate response! Well who knows exactly what the future holds, but I’m beside myself with bliss to announce that if yer ever visiting Green Gulch, come holla @ ya boy ova hea. I’ll be the twinkly eyed, goofily grinning soul brother with a salt and pepper afro, probably a rake or something in hand, and the good earth all over my jeans and shirt.

    Man… big thangs.

  • Maia Duerr/Liberated Life Project

    Kogen and Bezi — there IS a house in NOLA! it’s a Zen house! see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_2hSFoXPzc

  • Kogen 古 元

    Those are my favorite people!

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