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Category Archives: Quotes

Bodhisattvas of Great Strength…

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Photo from Oakland Tribune

 During the short aeons of swords,

 They meditate on love,

 Introducing to nonviolence

 Hundreds of millions of living beings.

 In the middle of great battles

 They remain impartial to both sides;

 For bodhisattvas of great strength

 Delight in reconciliation of conflict.

 In order to help the living beings,

 They voluntarily descend into

 The hells which are attached

 To all the inconceivable buddha-fields.

—Vimalakirti Sutra

Photo taken in Oakland, CA, Nov 14, 2011; Francisco “Pancho” Ramos-Stierle and friends, sitting in meditation in front of the City Hall, prior to being arrested.

Quote of the Week: Robert Aitken Roshi

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“Buddhism is anarchism, after all, for anarchism is love,
trust, selflessness and all those good Buddhist virtues
including a total lack of imposition on another.”

~Robert Aitken Roshi

I believe that Aitken Roshi would love what is happening in New York and across the world now…

The Robe Chant (slightly edited)

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Vast is the robe of liberation

A formless field of benefaction

Wearing the Tathagatha’s teaching

Loving all sentient beings


photo: Sunrise in Sukhothai, Thailand

Quote of the Week: Dr. Margarita Loinaz

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Margarita Loinaz/Photo by Kathrin Miller

In a previous “Quote of the Week,” I mentioned the under-representation of Latino/a teachers at the recent Buddhist Teachers’ Conference, and I highlighted the work of Rev. Ryumon HG Baldoquin. Today I want to share the words of another gifted Latina dharma practitioner, Margarita Loinaz.

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Quote of the Week: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

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Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891 – 1956) is a unique figure in the annals of socially engaged Buddhism. Born to a family of the Untouchable (Dalit) Caste in India, Ambedkar went on to become a beacon of liberation to the Indian people and helped to revive Buddhism in that country.

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Happy Birthday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi!

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Artwork by Shepard Fairey

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is 66 years old today. My guess is that the way she’d like us to celebrate is by renewing our commitment to democracy and human rights for all the citizens of Burma. You can find out more about how to do that at the Clear View Project and the Campaign for Burma.

Here is a quote from Aung San Suu Kyi (from “Please Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours,” published in the International Herald Tribune, 1997):

Those of us who decided to work for democracy in Burma made our choice in the conviction that the danger of standing up for basic human rights in a repressive society was preferable to the safety of a quiescent life in servitude.

Ours is a nonviolent movement that depends on faith in the human predilection for fair play and compassion.

Some would insist that man is primarily an economic animal interested only in his material well-being. This is too narrow a view of a species which has produced numberless brave men and women who are prepared to undergo relentless persecution to uphold deeply held beliefs and principles. It is my pride and inspiration that such men and women exist in my country today.

Quote of the Week: Rev. Ryumon HG Baldoquin

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I’ve been reading accounts from the Buddhist teachers’ gathering at the Garrison Institute this past week, and something that stood out to me was that there was only one teacher of Latino heritage present – my dharma brother, Shinzan Palma, a priest at Upaya Zen Center where I practice.

And I was reminded of an issue of Turning Wheel magazine that I worked on a long time ago. In the Spring of 2001, the theme we focused on was Buddhism en Las Americas… bringing forward voices of Latino/a dharma teachers and practitioners.

One of those voices was from Rev. Ryumon HG Baldoquín, a Soto Zen priest and teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Ryumon, who was born in Cuba, has been instrumental in the founding of People of Color and LGBTQ Sanghas across the U.S., and has served as a mentor and coach for young social change activists, political organizers, and emerging leaders. She is the editor of Dharma, Color, and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism. And though we haven’t connected for a long time, I’m honored to say that Ryumon is my friend (and former apartment-mate!).

Here is an excerpt from Ryumon’s story from that issue of Turning Wheel:

Part of my journey in Buddhism has been connected with my journey as an immigrant. I have always felt like an “outsider.” The experience of “looking in” and being “kept out” has been a great gift, for it has allowed me to learn how to move in and out of multiple worlds, even when I am not expected to exist in that world. The question of what an “outsider” is has been very central to my life, and has a lot to do with the work that I do.

The best way to describe this work is that it is about liberation. I assist individuals and groups to get in touch with the social hurts, personal wounds, and oppression that they have experienced, in order to generate options for moving to a healing place. Because after all, we can’t make change effectively in the world if we haven’t addressed our own healing process.

Quote of the Week: Wendy Johnson

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There are the headline stars of socially engaged Buddhism, like His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh. And then there are the lesser-known folks like Wendy Johnson who are beautiful, hidden gems.

I’ve been lucky enough to know Wendy for almost 15 years now and for the past three days, I’ve been enjoying being part of “True Nourishment from the Boundless Field,” a retreat with Wendy and Sensei Beate Stolte here at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe.

Wendy has been a Zen practitioner for 35 years in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. She helped to found the organic farm and gardening program at Green Gulch Zen Center in 1975, and she’s taught gardening and environmental education since the early 1980s. Joanna Macy once said, “If Earth took a human voice, it would be Wendy’s: wry, fierce, passionately attentive to detail, and so startling in its wild freedom it’s almost scary.”

This week’s quote is an excerpt from Wendy’s magical book Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World. You’ll notice the quote jumps from Wendy’s first gardening principle to her seventh… obviously there are five in between. Though I was tempted, including them all would have made this post way too long. So you’ll just have to get her book to find out the rest ; ) But this should be enough to give you a flavor of Wendy’s love for this earth.

Gardening is all about picking and choosing and following our passion. Some very basic principles inform how I garden. They come out of my love for gardening and for the world. Today I count seven principles. Tomorrow there may be eight or nine, because they arise out of an untamed rootstock from below the bottom of time.

My first principle is to learn gardening from the wilderness outside the garden gate…There is very little true wilderness remaining in the modern world. And yet when Thoreau says, “In wildness is the preservation of the world,” he reminds me that wildness, at least, persists. It endures underneath the paved-over pathways of our cities as well as on the fringe of urban farmland. It persists in patches, sumps, and wallows, in weedy tangles everywhere on Earth. Staying in relationship to the uncultivated world is a primary principle for me as I garden domesticated land….

My seventh principle is generosity with the harvest. In the biblical book of Leviticus, one of the laws of Jewish life was not to cut the corners of the fields after the main harvest but to leave them standing so there would be food to be gleaned by the hungry, the lonely, and the stranger. I treasure this old admonition to share the bounty of the garden harvest with all beings; it reminds me not to cut corners and to garden wholeheartedly for the benefit of both the visible and the invisible hungry world.


If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to visit my other website: The Liberated Life Project — a personal transformation blog with a social conscience.

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