http://www.UrbanDharma.org ...Buddhism for Urban America


The Urban Dharma Newsletter... February 25, 2003


In This Issue:

1. Buddhist Humor
2. My Current Letter
...by Joanna Macy
3. Spiritual Practices for Social Activists
...by Joanna Macy
4. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week: DharmaNet International
5. Book Review: The Lotus Unleashed: The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966
...Robert J. Topmiller
6. Peace Link: Peace Center, 352 Peace Quotes


1. Buddhist Humor

Q: Why are there so few Buddhist rhythm and blues bands?

A:  Because Buddhists don't have any soul.

2. My Current Letter ...by Joanna Macy

* http://www.joannamacy.net/

January 2003

Dear People,

I want to tell you about the beauty and the blessing with which this year began for me.

It was the beauty of the high desert at midnight, in the dark of the moon, so the black sky blazed with stars, and the circle illumined by our fire was all we could see of the limitless land extending around us. We had driven 65 miles north from Las Vegas. After the garish, blaring casinos, more frenzied than ever on New Year's Eve, the stillness felt sacred--like a cathedral. And the knowledge of how deeply this desert was damaged did not diminish my sense of its beauty.

We were standing at the edge of the Nevada Test Site, an area the size of Rhode Island, ravaged by over a thousand nuclear explosions. Belonging by treaty to the Western Shoshone and Southern Paiute Indians, who had occupied this land for millennia, it was invaded by the U.S. Government in 1950 for purposes of "improving and perfecting" our atomic arsenal. Most of the detonations, many times greater than Hiroshima, have taken place within the body of the Earth.

We were about fifty men and women, coming directly from a two-day retreat in Las Vegas. It was sponsored by the Nevada Desert Experience, a witness begun by Franciscans twenty years ago. Fran and I, who were invited to facilitate the retreat, were inspired by the high-hearted Franciscan friars who took part in it, and the stories they told of their work with poor farmers and laborers in the Southwest. Ken Butigan, an old friend from the Graduate Theological Union and historian of the Nevada Desert Experience, was a gold mine of information and good humor. From the Western Shoshone nation came Johnnie Bobb with his remarkable wife Bonnie, bearing, with quiet courtesy, first-hand knowledge of the suffering of their land and people.

These seasoned activists were, of course, well aware of what our government's march to war would mean for this country and the world. But along with the dread and grief we all felt, there was resolve. We had come to renew our commitment to justice and peace. Our retreat at St. James Church in Las Vegas included not only informational briefings, but prayers and songs as well, and group practices from the Work That Reconnects.

On the last day of the year, we held two strong sessions of Deep Time work. Using music and role-plays, we evoked our ancestors of centuries past, and addressed the seventh generation to follow us. We imagined the courage and guidance these past and future beings would want to give us for this present, pivotal moment in human history. So, when we reached the Test Site an hour before midnight, all of time seemed to surround us under that desert sky.

Near the barbed wire fence, we built a fire and gathered in a circle around it. A low hillock blocked the lights from the main gate, where the sheriff's officers waited in their trailer. By the flickering flames, prayers were spoken, sung, danced, and drummed. We moved into the now-familiar Elm Dance, stepping carefully in rhythm through the rocks and cactus. Then, for each of us to make a New Year's resolution--it being now 2003--we separated for a short while and walked out into the night-black desert, listening to what it, and our hearts, would ask of us.

I was so cold by then, I didn't follow suit, but knelt close to the fire. Instantly, in one word, a resolve took form. The word was "steady." To be steady in my mind, my life, my work. Not to be buffeted by fears, frazzled with rage, jerked around by haste and distractions, but to proceed with the steadiness I sensed in these Franciscans and Western Shoshone. Just the thought of it let me breathe deeper--and I claimed it for the year ahead.

When we all reassembled, we joined hands and began to move toward the road that led down to the gate. We were singing. Everyone 'neath his vine and fig tree will live in peace and unafraid… And into plowshares beat our swords… More lights switched on at the gate and figures in khaki uniforms moved out from the trailer, waiting. The 34 of us who had decided to "cross the line," and commit civil disobedience by entering the Test Site, were in the lead. Fran was among them, but I was too cold. Since arrest involved an indefinite period in an open holding pen, I figured I'd spend that time waiting in a heated car. So I stayed at the edge, close enough to listen, as the group stopped before crossing the line, and fell into silence.

Johnnie Bobb was in their midst, speaking to them and smudging them with lit sage. Formally, with quiet dignity, this Western Shoshone in his long gray braids gave them permission to enter the Test Site. He welcomed them onto the land that was his to honor and protect. His words, which I could barely hear, conveyed the wisdom of a people who loved their land and knew they belonged to it through all time. He made no mention of its destruction, of the ravaging poisons exploded in its body, contaminating its life. That vast violation seemed in no way to affect his respect for this land, his responsibility for its care.

That is the blessing I want to carry with me into this year. It tells me that even the most terrible wounding of Earth need not damage our love for it. Despite all rage and despair over the destruction of life, the will to protect it is deeper yet. It can hold us steady, as we act for the healing of our world. Steady for the long haul.

3. Spiritual Practices for Social Activists ...by Joanna Macy

* http://www.joannamacy.net/

To heal our society, our psyches must heal as well. Haunted by the desperate needs of our time and beset by more commitments than we can easily carry, we may wonder how to find the time and energy for spiritual disciplines. Few of us feel free to take to the cloister or the meditation cushion to seek personal transformation.

We do not need to withdraw from the world or spend long hours in solitary prayer or meditation to begin to wake up to the spiritual power within us. The activities and encounters of our daily lives can serve as the occasion for that kind of discovery. I would like to share five simple exercises that can help in this.

The exercises--on death, loving-kindness, compassion, mutual power, and mutual recognition--happen to be adapted from the Buddhist tradition. As part of our planetary heritage, they belong to us all. No belief system is necessary, only a readiness to attend to the immediacy of your own experience. They will be most useful if read slowly with a quiet mind (a few deep breaths will help), and if put directly into practice in the presence of others. If you read them aloud for others or put them on tape, allow several seconds when three dots (...) are marked, and when more are marked (??), leave additional time, as appropriate.


Most spiritual paths begin by recognizing the transiency of human life. Medieval Christians honored this in the mystery play of Everyman. Don Juan, the Yaqui sorcerer, taught that the enlightened warrior walks with death at his shoulder. To confront and accept the inevitability of our dying releases us from attachments and frees us to live boldly. An initial meditation on the Buddhist path involves reflection on the twofold fact that: "death is certain" and "the time of death is uncertain." In our world today, nuclear weaponry, serving in a sense as a spiritual teacher, does that meditation for us, for it tells us that we can die together at any moment, without warning. When we allow the reality of that possibility to become conscious, it is painful, but it also jolts us awake to life's vividness, its miraculous quality, heightening our awareness of the beauty and uniqueness of each object, and each being.

As an occasional practice in daily life:

Look at the person you encounter (stranger or friend). Let the realization arise in you that this person lives on an endangered planet. He or she may die in a nuclear war; or from the poisons spreading through our world. Observe that face, unique, vulnerable...Those eyes still can see; they are not empty sockets...the skin is still intact...Become aware of your desire that this person be spared such suffering and horror, feel the strength of that desire...keep breathing...Also let the possibility arise in your consciousness that this may be the person you happen to be with when you die...that face the last you see...that hand the last you touch...it might reach out to help you then, to comfort, to give water...Open to the feelings for this person that surface in you with the awareness of this possibility... Open to the levels of caring and connection it reveals in you.


Loving kindness, or metta, is the first of the four "Abodes of the Buddha," also known as the Brahmaviharas. Meditation to arouse and sustain loving-kindness is a staple of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement for community development in Sri Lanka, and is accorded minutes of silence at the outset of every meeting. Organizers and village workers find it useful in developing motivation for service and overcoming feelings of hostility or inadequacy in themselves and others.

I first received instruction in this meditation from a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Here is a version that I have adapted for use in the West.

Close your eyes and begin to relax, exhaling to expel tension. Now center in on the normal flow of the breath, letting go of all extraneous thoughts as you passively watch the breathing-in and breathing-out

Now call to mind someone you love very dearly...in your mind's eye see the face of that beloved one...silently speak her or his name...Feel your love for this being, like a current of energy coming through you...Now let your-self experience how much you want this person to be free from fear; how in-tensely you desire that this person be released from greed and ill-will, from confusion and sorrow and the causes of suffering...That desire, in all its sincerity and strength, is metta, the great loving kindness??

Continuing to feel that warm energy flow coming through the heart, see in your mind's eye those with whom you share your daily life, family members, close friends and colleagues, the people you live and work with...Let them appear now as in a circle around you. Behold them one by one, silently speaking their names...and direct to each in turn that same current of loving--kindness...Among these beings may be some with whom you are uncomfortable, in conflict, or tension. With those especially, experience your desire that each be free from fear, from hatred, free from greed and ignorance and the causes of suffering??

Now allow to appear, in wider concentric circles your relations, and your acquaintances... Let the beam of loving-kindness play on them as well, pausing on the faces that appear randomly in your mind's eye. With them as well, experience how much you want their freedom from greed, fear; hatred and confusion, how much you want all beings to be happy??

Beyond them, in concentric circles that are wider yet, appear now all beings with whom you share this planet-time. Though you have not met, your lives are interconnected in ways beyond knowing. To these beings as well, direct the same powerful current of loving-kindness. Experience your desire and your intention that each awaken from fear and hatred, from greed and confusion...that all beings be released from suffering

As in the ancient Buddhist meditation, we direct the loving-kindness now to all the "hungry ghosts, " the restless spirits that roam in suffering, still prey to fear and confusion. May they find rest...may they rest in the great loving kindness and in the deep peace it brings??

By the power of our imagination let us move out now beyond our planet, out into the universe, into other solar systems, other galaxies, other Buddha--fields. The current of loving-kindness is not affected by physical distances, and we direct it now, as if aiming a beam of light, to all centers of conscious life...And to all sentient beings everywhere we direct our heartfelt wish that they, too, be free of fear and greed, of hatred and confusion and the causes of suffering...May all beings be happy??

Now, as if from out there in the interstellar distances, we turn and behold our own planet, our home...We see it suspended there in the blackness of space, blue and white jewel planet turning in the light of its sun??Slowly we approach it, drawing nearer, nearer, returning to this part of it, this region, this place...And as you approach this place, let yourself see the being you know best of all...the person it has been given you to be in this lifetime...You know this person better than anyone else does, know its pain and its hopes, know its need for love, know how hard it tries...Let the face of this being, your own face, appear before you...speak the name you are called in love...And experience, with that same strong energy-current of loving-kindness, how deeply you desire that this being be free from fear, released from greed and hatred, liberated from ignorance and confusion and the causes of suffering...The great loving-kindness linking you to all beings is now directed to your own self...know now the fullness of it.


Basic to most spiritual traditions, as well as to the systems view of the world, is the recognition that we are not separate, isolated entities, but integral and organic parts of the vast web of life. As such, we are like neurons in a neural net, through which flow currents of awareness of what is happening to us, as a species and as a planet. In that context, the pain we feel for our world is a living testimony to our interconnectedness with it. If we deny this pain, we become like blocked and atrophied neurons, deprived of life's flow and weakening the larger body in which we take being. But if we let it move through us, we affirm our belonging; our collective awareness increases. We can open to the pain of the world in confidence that it can neither shatter nor isolate us, for we are not objects that can break. We are resilient patterns within a vaster web of knowing.

Because we have been conditioned to view ourselves as separate, competitive and thus fragile entities, it takes practice to relearn this kind of resilience. A good way to begin is by practicing simple openness, as in the exercise of "breathing through," adapted from an ancient Buddhist meditation for the development of compassion.

Closing your eyes, focus attention on your breathing. Don't try to breathe any special way, slow or long. Just watch the breathing as it happens in and out. Note the accompanying sensations at the nostrils or upper lip, in the chest or abdomen. Stay passive and alert, like a cat by a mouse hole??

As you watch the breath, you note that it happens by itself; without your will, without your deciding each time to inhale or exhale...It's as though you're being breathed--being breathed by life? Just as everyone in this room, in this city, in this planet now, is being breathed, sustained in a vast, breathing web of life??

Now visualize your breath as a stream or ribbon of air passing through you. See it flow up through your nose, down through your windpipe and into your lungs. Now from your lungs take it through your heart. Picture it flowing through your heart and out through an opening there to recon-nect with the larger web of life. Let the breath-stream, as it passes through you, appear as one loop within that vast web, connecting you with it??

Now open your awareness to the suffering that is present in the world. Drop for now all defenses and open to your knowledge of that suffering. Let it come as concretely as you can...concrete images of your fellow beings in pain and need, in fear and isolation, in prisons, hospitals, tenements, hunger camps...no need to strain for these images, they are present to you by virtue of our interexistence. Relax and just let them surface...the vast and countless hardships of our fellow humans, and of our animal brothers and sisters as well, as they swim the seas and fly the air of this ailing planet...Now breathe in the pain like dark granules on the stream of air; up through your nose, down through your trachea, lungs and heart, and out again into the world net...You are asked to do nothing for now, but let it pass through your heart??Be sure that stream flows through and out again; don't hang on to the pain...surrender it for now to the healing resources of life's vast web??

With Shantideva, the Buddhist saint, we can say, "Let all sorrows ripen in me." We help them ripen by passing them through our hearts...making good rich compost out of all that grief...so we can learn from it, enhancing our larger, collective knowing??

If no images or feelings arise and there is only blankness, grey and numb, breathe that through. The numbness itself is a very real part of our world...

And if what surfaces for you is not the pain of other beings so much as your own personal suffering, breathe that through, too. Your own anguish is an integral part of the grief of our world, and arises with it??

Should you feel an ache in the chest, a pressure in the rib cage, as if the heart would break, that is all right. Your heart is not an object that can break...But if it were, they say the heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe. Your heart is that large. Trust it. Keep breathing??

This guided meditation serves to introduce the process of breathing through, which, once familiar, becomes useful in daily life in the many situations that confront us with painful information. By breathing through the bad news, rather than bracing ourselves against it, we can let it strengthen our sense of belonging in the larger web of being. It helps us remain alert and open, whether reading the newspaper, receiving criticism, or simply being present to a person who suffers.

For activists working for peace and justice, and those dealing most directly with the griefs of our time, the practice helps prevent burnout. Reminding us of the collective nature of both our prob-lems and our power, it offers a healing measure of humility. It can save us from self-righteousness. For when we can take in our world's pain, accepting it as the price of our caring, we let it inform our acts without needing to inflict it as a punishment on others who are, at the present moment, less involved.


Compassion, which is grief in the grief of others is but one side of the coin. The other side is joy in the joy of others--which in Buddhism is called mudita. To the extent that we allow ourselves to identify with the sufferings of other beings, we can identify with their strengths as well. This is very important for a sense of adequacy and resilience, because we face a time of great challenge that demands of us more commitment, endurance and courage than we can dredge up out of our individual supply. We can learn to draw on the other neurons in the neural net, and view them in a grateful and celebratory fashion, as so much "money in the bank."

This practice is adapted from the Meditation of Jubilation and Transformation, taught in a Buddhist text written two thousand years ago at the outset of the Mahayana tradition. You can find the original version in chapter six of the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines. I find it very useful today in two forms. The one closer to the ancient practice is this:

Relax and close your eyes. Open your awareness to the fellow beings who share with you this planet-time...in this town...in this country...and in other lands??See their multitudes in your mind's eye?? Now let your awareness open wider yet, to encompass all beings who ever lived...of all races and creeds and walks of life, rich, poor, kings and beggars, saints and sinners...see the vast vistas of these fellow beings stretching into the distance, like successive mountain ranges?? Now consider the fact that in each of these innumerable lives some act of merit was performed. No matter how stunted or deprived the life, there was a gesture of generosity, a gift of love, an act of valor or self-sacrifice? on the battlefield or workplace, hospital or home...From these beings in their endless multitudes arose actions of courage, kindness, of teaching and healing. Let yourself see these manifold and immeasurable acts of merit??

Now imagine you can sweep together these acts of merit...sweep them into a pile in front of you...use your hands...pile them up...pile them into a heap viewing it with gladness and gratitude...Now pat them into a ball. It is the Great Ball of Merit...hold it now and weigh it in your hands...rejoice in it, knowing that no act of goodness is ever lost. It remains ever and always a present resource...a means for the transformation of life...So now, with jubilation and gratitude, you turn that great ball...turn it over...over...into the healing of our world.

As we can learn from contemporary science and visualize in the holographic model of reality, our lives interpenetrate. In the fluid tapestry of space-time, there is at root no distinction between self and other. The acts and intentions of others are like seeds that can germinate and bear fruit through our own lives, as we take them into awareness and dedicate, or "turn over," that awareness to our own empowerment. Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dor-othy Day, and countless nameless heroes and heroines of our own day, all can be part of our Ball of Merit, from which we can draw inspiration and endurance. Other traditions feature notions simi-lar to this, such as the "cloud of witnesses" of which St. Paul spoke, or the Treasury of Merit in the Catholic Church.

The second, more workaday, version of the Ball of Merit medi-tation helps us open to the powers in people around us. It is in direct contrast to the commonly accepted, patriarchal notion of power as something personally owned and exerted over others. The exercise prepares us to bring expectant attention to our encounters with other beings, to view them with fresh openness and curiosity as to how they can enhance our Ball of Merit. We can play this inner game with someone opposite us on the bus or across the bargaining table. It is especially useful when dealing with a person with whom we may be in conflict.

What does this person add to my Great Ball of Merit? What gifts of intellect can enrich our common store? What reserves of stub-born endurance can she or he offer? What flights of fancy or powers of love lurk behind those eyes? What kindness or courage hides in those lips, what healing in those hands?

Then, as with the breathing-through exercise, we open ourselves to the presence of these strengths, inhaling our awareness of them. As our awareness grows, we experience our gratitude for them and our capacity to partake...

Often we let our perceptions of the powers of others make us feel inadequate. Alongside an eloquent colleague, we can feel in-articulate; in the presence of an athlete we can feel weak and clumsy; and we can come to resent both ourself and the other person. In the light of the Great Ball of Merit, however, the gifts and good fortunes of others appear not as competing challenges, but as resources we can honor and take pleasure in. We can learn to play detective, spying out treasures for the enhancement of life from even the unlikeliest material. Like air, and sun, and water, they form part of our common good.

In addition to releasing us from the mental cramp of envy, this spiritual offers two other rewards. One is pleasure in our own acuity, as our merit-detecting ability improves. The second is the response of others who, though ignorant of the game we are playing, sense something in our manner that invites them to disclose more of the person they can be.


This exercise is derived from the Buddhist practice of the Brahma-viharas, also known as the Four Abodes of the Buddha, which are loving-kindness, compassion, joy in the joy of others, and equanimity. Adapted for use in a social context, it helps us to see each other more truly and experience the depths of our interconnections.

In workshops, I offer this as a guided meditation, with partici-pants sitting in pairs facing each other. At its close, I encourage them to proceed to use it, or any portion they like, as they go about the business of their daily lives. It is an excellent antidote to boredom, when our eye falls on another person, say on the subway, or waiting in the check-out line. It charges that idle movement with beauty and discovery. It also is useful when dealing with people whom we are tempted to dislike or disregard; it breaks open our accustomed ways of viewing them. When used like this, as a meditation-in-action, one does not, of course, gaze long and deeply into the other's eyes, as in the guided exercise. A seemingly casual glance is enough.

The guided, group form goes like this:

Sit in pairs. Face each other: Stay silent. Take a couple of deep breaths, centering yourself and exhaling tension...Look into each others eyes...If you feel discomfort or an urge to laugh or look away, just note that embarrassment with patience and gentleness, and come back, when you can, to your partner's eyes. You may never see this person again: the opportunity to behold the uniqueness of this particular human being is given to you now??

As you look into this person's eyes, let yourself become aware of the powers that are there...Open your awareness to the gifts and strengths and the potentialities in this being?Behind those eyes are unmeasured reserves of courage and intelligence...of patience, endurance, wit and wisdom...There are gifts there, of which this person her/ himself is unaware...Consider what these powers could do for the healing of our planet, if they were to be believed and acted on??As you consider that, let yourself become aware of your desire that this person be free from fear...Experience how much you want this being to be free from fear, free from greed, released from hatred and from sorrow and from the causes of suffering??Know that what you are now experiencing is the great loving-kindness??

Now, as you look into those eyes, let yourself become aware of the pain that is there. There are sorrows accumulated in that life, as in all human lives, though you can only guess at them. There are disappointments and failures and losses and loneliness and abuse...there are hurts beyond the telling...Let yourself open to that pain, to hurts that this person may never have told another being??You cannot fix that pain, but you can be with it. As you let yourself simply be with that suffering, know that what you are experiencing is the great compassion. It is very good for the healing of our world

As you look into the eyes of this person, consider how good it would be to work together...on a joint project, toward a common goal...What it could be like, taking risks together...conspiring together in zest and laughter...celebrating the successes, consoling each other over the setbacks, forgiv-ing each other when you make mistakes...and simply being there for each other??As you open to that possibility, what you open to is the great wealth: the pleasure in each other's powers, the joy in each other's joy??

Lastly, let your awareness drop deep within you like a stone, sinking below the level of what words can express, to the deep web of relationship that underlies all experience. It is the web of life in which you have taken being, in which you are supported, and that interweaves us through all space and time...See the being before you as if seeing the face of one who, at another time, another place, was your lover or your enemy, your parent or your child??And now you meet again on this brink of time...And you know your lives are as intricately interwoven as nerve cells in the mind of a great being??Out of that vast net you cannot fall...no stupidity, or failure, or cowardice, can ever sever you from that living web. For that is what you are??Rest in that knowing. Rest in the Great Peace...Out of it we can act, we can venture everything...and let every encounter be a homecoming to our true nature...Indeed it is so??

In doing this exercise we realize that we do not have to be par-ticularly noble or saint-like in order to wake up to the power of our connection with other beings. In our time that simple awakening is the gift the Bomb holds for us. For all its horror and stupidity, the Bomb, like the toxins we spew into our world, is also the manifestation of an awesome spiritual truth--the truth about the hell we create for ourselves when we cease to learn how to love. Saints, mystics and prophets throughout the ages saw that law; now all can see it and none can escape its consequences. So we are caught now in a narrow place where we realize that Moses, Lao-Tzu, the Buddha, Jesus and our own inner hearts were right all along; and we are as scared and frantic as a cornered rat, and as dangerous. But if we let it, that narrow cul-de-sac can turn into a birth canal, pressing and pushing us through the darkness of pain, until we are delivered into...what? Love seems too weak a word. It is, as Saint Paul said, "the glory to be revealed in us." It stirs in us now.

For us to regard the Bomb (or the dying seas, the poisoned air) as a monstrous injustice to us would suggest that we never took seriously the injunction to love. Perhaps we thought all along that Gautama and Jesus were kidding, or their teachings meant only for saints. But now we see, as an awful revelation, that we are all called to be saints--not good necessarily, or pious, or devout--but saints in the sense of just loving each other. One wonders what terrors this know-ledge must hold that we fight it so, and flee from it in such pain. Can it be that the Bomb, by which we can extinguish all life, can tell us this? Can force us to face the terrors of love? Can be the occasion of our birth?

In that possibility we take heart. Even in confusion and fear, with all our fatigues and petty faults, we can let that awareness work in and through our lives. Such simple exercises as those offered here can help us do that, help us to begin to see ourselves and each other with fresh eyes.

Let me close with the same suggestion that closes our workshops. It is a practice that is a corollary to the earlier death meditation, where we recognize that the person we meet may die in a nuclear war. Look at the next person you see. It may be lover, child, co-worker, bus driver, or your own face in the mirror. Regard him or her with the recognition that:

In this person are gifts for the healing of our world. In him/her are powers that can redound to the joy of all beings.


Purpose and background

As we go forth for the healing of our world, there are forces and institutions which we will and must challenge. The men and women who serve these structures will appear as our opponents. Here is a formal group practice which helps to free us from fear and illwill toward such persons, and to ground us in an all-embracing compassion.

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh encourages his students to express their respect, gratitude, and goodwill by the act of bowing. Because some Westerners are uncomfortable with notion of bowing, he calls it "Touching the Earth"--for their elders and teachers, the Buddha Dharma and the spiritual community, their original faith traditions, their ancestors, their homeplace on the planet. This particular practice for honoring our adversaries was composed by an ordained senior member of his Order of Interbeing, Caitriona Reed.


Everyone stands with enough room in front of them to kneel and touch the ground with hands and forehead. If there is an altar or emblem, like an Earth flag, they can be facing it. The guide reads the text aloud, pausing after each paragraph, at which point everyone (guide included) "touches the Earth"--putting knees, hands, and then head to the floor. Ten paragraphs, ten bows. Some may prefer to do a full prostration; others may choose to abstain from the practice and just listen from the sidelines. Be sure they feel comfortable in doing so. Maintain a slow, unhurried pace throughout.

Touching the Earth for Our Adversaries ...By Caitriona Reed

You, who deliberately engage in the destruction of the environment for your own profit, you show me how much I value what is honest, what is generous, what has been clearly thought through, what is expressive of love for this planet home and our human and nonhuman fellow beings. So I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

You bring forth in me the passion and love I feel for this life-bearing land, its soil, air and waters, and the beings they nurture; the passion I feel for integrity and strong, sustainable community. Because of the strength with which I resist your actions, I have seen how strong my

love and passion really are. I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

Because the pain I feel when I allow myself to witness the pain of the world is no less than your pain--you, who perpetuate destruction and cut yourselves off from needs of the present and the generations of the future, I bow to you in compassion and touch the Earth.

Because the pain of greed, alienation and fear are no less than the pain of sorrow and mourning for what is lost, I bow to you in compassion and touch the Earth.

For the power of my anger, transforming itself into love for the beauty and integrity of all life-forms, and for the bright energy of my passion for justice and the health of all beings, I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

Because we all want to be happy, to feel ourselves intact and part of a single whole, for that shared longing, I bow to you in compassion and touch the Earth.

Because you challenge me by your actions, demanding that I release my attachment to the belief that my view, my understanding, is the only correct one, I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

For you who teach me that the mind is a limitless source, a miracle capable of manifesting as love, as greed, as fear, capable of clarity or delusion, blind to the consequence of action or open to the boundless coherence of all that we do and experience in life. For you who show me what I myself am capable of when I let my life be governed by fear and greed, great awesome teachers, I bow to you in gratitude and touch the Earth.

In awe of the mind's capability for delusion and alienation that calls me so insistently to understanding and joy, I bow to you and touch the Earth.

With the understanding that all this will pass and with love in my heart, I bow to you and touch the Earth.

4. DharmaNet International

* http://www.dharmanet.org/

DharmaNet's Gateways to Buddhism is an online clearinghouse for Buddhist study and practice resources. It is home to Dharmanet's own in-house databases and collections, as well as providing links to all online Buddhist resources, large and small. This public service is coordinated by DharmaNet International and is funded entirely through donations.

DharmaNet offers this www/ftp site freely in hopes of helping Buddhists and other interested individuals around the globe to find Dhamma teachings and teachers, to help support Dhamma centers in all traditions, to promote dialogue and communication, and to help build a vital and cooperative online Buddhist community.

5. The Lotus Unleashed: The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966 ...Robert J. Topmiller

* http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0813122600/wwwkusalaorg-20/

Editorial Reviews

Spencer C. Tucker, author of VIETNAM

"A major contribution to the study of the Vietnam war."

Book Description

During the Vietnam War, Vietnamese Buddhist peace activists made extraordinary sacrifices—including self-immolation—to try to end the fighting. They hoped to fashion a neutralist government to broker peace with the Communists and expel the Americans.

In the first study in English of this vitally important mass movement, Robert J. Topmiller describes Buddhist efforts to create a non-aligned Third Force. He explores South Vietnamese attitudes toward the war, the insurgency, and U.S. intervention, and lays bare internal dissension in the U.S. military. Far from being ineffective or weak, the Buddhist peace movement caused a crisis within the United States government. The Lotus Unleashed is one of the few studies to illuminate the impact of internal Vietnamese politics on U.S. decision-making and to examine the power of a nonviolent movement to confront a violent superpower.

About the Author

Robert J. Topmiller is visiting professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University.

6. Peace Center, 352 Peace Quotes

* http://www.salsa.net/peace/quotes.html

...352 Peace Quotes

3. It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. - Alfred Adler

15. Peace is not the product of a victory or a command. It has no finishing line, no final deadline, no fixed definition of achievement. Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions. - Oscar Arias

17. That's all nonviolence is - organized love. - Joan Baez

350. Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more. - Oscar Wilde


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