There are some powerful posts hanging around out there in the Buddhoblogosphere today.
Tom Armstrong has a fascinating post examining the languaging on homelessness in a newsletter for a branch of Loaves and Fishes in Sacramento. The newsletter opens with a quote from Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and then goes on to make a decidedly Christian statement about homeless people:
They may look like humble clay as they trudge along 12th Street towards Loaves & Fishes but the stress of shared homelessness cracks open their humanity and gives us glimpses of the spark of divinity within them.
Tom goes on to comment, "Catholics, like other Christians, see people as essentially sinful. The Buddhist view is the opposite: People are essentially noble and good."
Check out the whole article for more; it's worth looking at partly because I think some convert Buddhists, who were immersed in Christian traditions before becoming Buddhists, really struggle to flip over the narrative that people are "sinful by nature."
Algernon, over at Notes from a Burning House, writes in his current post about the narratives banging up against each other in the Middle East, and the power beneath them.
Among his points, I found the following insight most important:
When truly committed and honest negotiators appear on both sides of this conflict, they will necessarily begin talking about concessions and compromises. In other words, there will be a discussion about conceding and sharing power.
On the rare occasions that people speak that way and mean it, what happens to them?
If you don't know the answer to that question, you'll have to read the rest of his post. And even if you do, read it anyway.
Barry, over at the Ox Herding blog, has been burning brightly lately. I've felt inspired by his posts recently, and am glad for his presence amongst us bloggers. his current post continues on the theme of making small shifts in one's life, and how this is often the way our life really opens up, contrary to the idea we often have lurking under the surface that we must give up everything, join a monastery, and forget about worldly life all together.
"Often the urgencies of life requires only the smallest action, such as a gift of flowers or a simple Thank You. And yet often we fail to make that gesture.
I've seen in my own life how hard it is to stay present to the requirements of the moment. It takes more than attentiveness to the shifting phenomena of feelings, impulses, thoughts and perceptions.
It takes a genuine commitment to love this world, no matter how it appears. It requires us to set aside our self-centered stories, to expose ourselves to the real.
Please go over to his blog to read the story behind these words.
And finally Maia, over at Jizo Chronicles, posted a dialogue between bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hanh that is definitely worth considering. Maia's blog is often a source of access points to socially engaged practice, something sorely needed in this day and age.
Here is a striking snippet from the dialogue for you.
bell hooks: And lastly, what about fear? Because I think that many white people approach black people or Asian people not with hatred or anger but with fear. What can love do for that fear?
Thich Nhat Hanh: Fear is born from ignorance. We think that the other person is trying to take away something from us. But if we look deeply, we see that the desire of the other person is exactly our own desire—to have peace, to be able to have a chance to live.
I've been reflecting on how Thay's comments about fear point to what I've been experiencing with my career life. This struggle with the director I dislike has a lot to do with fears that what I want the organization to do, or what I and others are already doing, will be struck down by the desires of this director, who currently holds much of the power.
May we all be liberated a bit through each others' words.