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Quote of the Week: John Francis

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Like two other people I’ve featured in this “Quote of the Week” feature (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thomas Merton), John Francis is not a capital B Buddhist. But he is definitely a buddha. And his story is very relevant in the wake of the current Gulf oil spill.

After the 1971 oil spill in San Francisco Bay, Francis was so appalled by the destruction from this event that he vowed to not take any form of motorized transportation. And he kept that vow for the next 17 years. He walked everywhere. Between 1971 and 1990, Francis walked  through all 48 mainland American states and South America, in Europe, Asia and Antarctica, and gained three university degrees. And during that time, he also took a vow of silence.

For this week’s quote, I’m going to send you to this wonderful WGBH interview with Maria Hinojosa so you can hear John’s words straight from him (along with his trusty banjo):

http://www.wgbh.org/watch/index.cfm?programid=12&featureid=14041&rssid=1

I especially appreciate the way Francis realized how argumentative he became with people who couldn’t understand what he was doing, and then he realized that to truly be a change-maker, he needed to transform at an even deeper level.

To learn more about John Francis, visit his website Planetwalk.

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About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

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