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social justice

Organic Intelligence basics for yoga & meditation practice

Four talks on the basics of Organic Intelligence (OI) as it might be applied to yoga and meditation practice. These talks were given in the context of a “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga” weekend at Namaste (June 2018), and look at the building blocks of OI using the common practice of yoga class and posture work as the main examples. Some of what …

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The Great Demons: Systemic trauma & social action

Based in our recent exploration of the Diamond Sūtra and the ideal of the Bodhisattva, we begin a series of discussions of what I’ll call the Great Demons, the systemic ills we struggle with and which so clearly are conditions for global suffering right now. We’ll work with three core models for understanding systemic ill, all of which I’ll explain …

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Vastness & Engagement: Exploring the Diamond Sutra

Coming out of a few weeks of conversation about foundational themes in the Buddhist systems called Mahāyāna, or “Great Vehicle,” we look at one of the most important and beloved texts of the Mahāyāna school known as the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā), the Diamond Sutra (vajracchedikā sūtra). I’m reading through it slowly, in Red Pine’s ch’an/zen-oriented translation, and reflecting on some …

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Mettā as Universal Love, and renunciation, as supports for tolerance

Part of a series on social justice issues, we look here at the profound virtue of tolerance, and how it can be developed through the practices of mettā and renunciation. Meditation I gave “basics” meditation instructions this evening:

On karma and white privilege

For more resources (for white folks) on uprooting White Privilege, check out the White Awake curriculum developed in part by the folks at Insight Meditation Washington DC.

The teaching of the 6 Realms as a metaphor for privilege

The Buddhist cosmological framework of the “6 Realms” can be read both as a map of where beings go from lifetime to lifetime, and/or a map of the psychological-emotional-relational states we pass through in the course of this life. Both are valuable. Here’s a discussion of the map in relation to the social justice work around privilege.

I have seen the yogi and he is us: Patañjali and the consolations of ambiguity

One of the marks of a great text seems to be that it can be deeply important to wildly different people from cultures separated from each other by vast distances of time and space. A theater company in Kolkata establishes a reputation for cutting social realism by putting on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, while a British director in France hubristically (and with some success) attempts to stage the entire Mahabharata. A Japanese director who traces his lineage …

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Devotion and doubt: race, religion, and postmodern kirtan

After a long day of sessions, feeling with clients/students through the morass of feelings and confusions that seem to be the near-universal experience of being human around here, I light a dry leaf of white sage, shake off the fire, and walk slowly around the practice room both clearing the air and honoring the images and statues that live there. …

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Saffron-washing part 2: Response to Thich Nhat Hanh

Several folks have posted this Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) interview to me, after my recent dip into the Google-Mindfulness-Buddhism-Capitalism debate following the Wisdom 2.0 protest. There’s a good debate about it on Be Scofield’s Facebook wall, and a smaller one on mine after this post, and I don’t need to repeat many of the elements of the discussion in those …

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