¡No Pasaran!

They shall not pass!

This is my new motto, borrowed from Nadia (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, now Nadya) of the Russian fem-punk band Pussy Riot, who borrowed it from Dolores Ibarruri, a popular anti-fascist icon of Spanish Civil War fame.

Dolores gave a famous radio speech in July of 1936 that ended with the statement, “The fascists shall not pass! No pasaran!” It became the motto of the Spanish anti-fascist Republican, and this song was used in their campaigns:

¡NO PASARÁN!
Ahí van marchando los milicianos
Van para el frente con gran valor.
A dar sus vidas se van cantando
Antes que triunfe Franco el traidor.
En el espacio van los fascistas
Bombas aéreas destrozarán
La bella urbe capitalina
Pero a Madrid . . . ¡No PASARÁN!
Matan mujeres, niños, y ancianos
Que por las calles suelen andar.
Esta es la hazaña de los fascistas
Que allá en la historia se ha de grabar
Si sangre de héroes regó los campos
Bellas simientes resurgirán
El cañón ruje, tiembla la tierra
Pero a Madrid . . . ¡NO PASARÁN!
THEY SHALL NOT PASS!
There march the militiamen
With great valor to the front.
They go singing to give their lives
Lest Franco, the traitor. triumph.
The fascists are in the skies
Their aerial bombs may destroy
Our beautiful capital city
But to Madrid . . . They Shall Not Pass!
They kill women, children, and the elderly
Who are out and about on the streets
This is the deed of the fascists
Which will be inscribed in history.
Where heroes’ blood watered the fields
Beautiful seedlings will flourish.
The cannon roars, the earth trembles
But to Madrid . . . They Shall Not Pass!

= from  Women in World History, Primary Sources

http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/247.html

http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/248.html

Nadya and her fellow Rioter, Maria Alyokhina, have recently been speaking out on the American fascist tendencies revealed in the Trump campaign – particularly since Trump has been expressing admiration for their arch-nemisis Vladimir Putin – and warning the American people of what may happen.  “Here, all who are in opposition to Putin are in the security services’ sights. Our mail is read, our phones tapped and we are watched. And that is not the limit — some of us have been killed,” Alyokhina said in an interview, referencing the murder of former deputy prime minister Boris Nemstov, who was killed last year.

Nadya released a potent graphic last month aimed at the Trump campaign:

NadyaT

[Nadya’s comments indicate that this is an electric chair!]

Alyokhina also made this amazing statement, which seems to speak so directly to our situation: “Artists should make more powerful statements than politicians. We must change the world and its ways so that politics breathlessly runs after art.”

Maybe we are in the post-political period. Maybe politics are truly meaningless, just an anachronistic facade in America now. Maybe that’s why I feel so depressed and unable to relate to the whole thing in a positive way.

Maybe that’s why my strongest feelings are !No pasaran!

Not a political essay

This is not a political essay. This is an effort to see beyond what’s happening on the surface and align my intentions with a clearer perspective. I begin with the political only because the moment is so full of the political.

The DNC is over and the expected outcome manifested. Some of it was good, some of it was really inspiring, but taking a moment to reflect on all the rhetoric, it is clear that though there’s a huge difference in the perspective of the two parties, there is not a lot of real understanding in either of them. While I clearly will do all I can to ensure the election of Clinton, given the alternative, I kinda admit to the clothespin analogy the Bernie supporter invoked last night. But let me be clear on that: I don’t really think even Bernie would be that much different.

I know, there are  “yuge”, even VAST, differences, and significant impacts on millions of people, but I’m taking a longer view here. What all of it, including the fascist impulses rampant in our society today, arises from is a profound disconnect that has buried itself in our consciousness so deeply that we are generally unaware of it.

As many of the speakers pounded home in the last few nights, ‘this is about more than party differences, it’s about people’! Yes, it’s about people, how people live and think, this dualistic mindset that insists on breaking everything down into a “battle” that must be “won”. Like Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever”, it’s a sickness born down deep within our souls.

Beneath all the philosophical and religious views and all our notions of right vs. wrong, there’s this one thing we agree on, and that is that there is such a thing as right and wrong, us and them, good and bad. It’s only in the definitions that we differ, only in the who is what, which usually means “they” are wrong and “we” are right.

And therein lies our essential problem.

Although in Buddhism as a religion there is as much dualism and right vs. wrong as most anywhere else, somehow there’s a core there, somehow the process of meditation itself – and this core is probably to be found in many other places as well, it’s just that Buddhism is where I found it – helps one break through the surface and experience things that make it clear – in a way that words can’t truly express and ideas can’t negate – that this ongoing process that I identify as “me” or “us” is just a point of light in great explosion that has likely been going on forever and will continue forever, because that’s really all there is is –forever.

This deeper level of experience (wherever one finds it), replicated and deepened throughout life, tends to snap all this political/social bullshit into some kind of relief. Tends to reveal it all as a transparent, shimmering facade.

Because really, in some way that’s impossible for me to explain or show outside of the experiencing of it, everything is all connected to everything else. Truly. Deeply. All the things we do in denial, or ignorance, or in spite of, this connectedness — all the insanity, the delusion, is the real reason for human suffering and ecosystem destruction, the real reason for all the fucked-uped-ness of this world.

Thus the great, egregious monstrosity that is American Empire and all that entails is built on the foundation of the monstrous way that human have constructed “civilization” on top of the ruins of billions of lives, and that edifice itself is built on the notion that each individual human is somehow discrete. Separate. Disconnected.

Until we find ways to help everyone heal from that profound disconnect, born in the illusion that “I” am a real, discrete separate individual and what I do only affects, we will go on making war on ourselves, on the rest of life, and on the entire inanimate cosmos.

Charles Eisenstein lays out this case much better than I, and in a recent essay – Of Horseshoe Crabs and Empathy – makes a brilliant argument that the implications of all this are that our energies are better directed toward the development of love for the world and action at local levels than great political or even environmental battles.

It’s in those experiences of love for the particulars of the world that we know the truth about the whole of the cosmos, he argues, and only in those kinds of “seeing” do we come to understand the connection we have lost. Feeling those losses, rather than following some set of rules or beliefs, is what can motivate and guide us to authentic action.

He says:

If everyone focused their love, care, and commitment on protecting and regenerating their local places, while respecting the local places of others, then a side effect would be the resolution of the climate crisis. If we strove to restore every estuary, every forest, every wetlands, every piece of damaged and desertified land, every coral reef, every lake, and every mountain, not only would most drilling, fracking, and pipelining have to stop, but the biosphere would become far more resilient too.

—- Charles Eisenstein – Of Horseshoe Crabs and Empathy

 

A different perspective on crisis

Charles Eisenstein, my go-to guy for understanding what’s happening in this crazy world, for making sense of it – at least the sense of seeing clearly what the causes and implications of it all are – has written another gem. Whatever he writes about, it seems that he’s able to clarify everything and bring a beautiful, open perspective to the world as he explicates the question at hand.

This one is on ‘Brexit’ – and by extension Trumpism.

He says that the conventional interpretations of the motives of the anti-elitist sentiment as expressed in both these current phenomena are flawed and patronizing to the extreme, blaming it all on the ignorant xenophobia and racist attitudes of the ‘yahoos’. He notes that there are deep and legitimate reasons behind both the anti-EU vote and Trump supporters’ anger.

We don’t agree on what to do, but more and more of us have lost faith in the system and its stewards. When right-wing populists blame our problems on dark-skinned people or immigrants, the response they arouse draws its power from real and justifiable dissatisfaction. Racism is its symptom, not its cause.

It’s the underlying assumptions and attitudes that are creating all of these problems, the ideas that drive people to fear, anger and hatred against someone – who depending on one’s social analysis.

 The right-wing populists incite hatred and anger at the blacks, the immigrants, the Muslims, the gays, the transgender, the “libtards,” etc. The mainstream liberals stir up outrage against the bigots, the nationalists, the contemptible narrow-minded over-entitled “crazy” (a common adjective) climate-change-denying Bible-thumpers. Further left, the critics of neoliberal imperialism follow the same formula by invoking images of heartless corporate executives, greedy bankers, cowardly political elites, and drone-like bureaucrats and technocrats who should surely know better.

Understanding the causes of all this – and then communicating with each other about how to solve it – is the only way our world will come to find a way through all this that leads to a livable world for all.

Charles says the underlying issue is the mindset of modernity, the belief that we as humans are separate and set apart from the rest of life, and from each other.

 …it is part of a mindset that is integral to modernity and has roots going back to the first mass societies. It is fundamentally the mindset of war, in which progress consists in defeating the enemy: weeds or locusts, barbarians or communists; germs or cholesterol; gun nuts or traitors. And that mindset rests on a foundation more basic still: the Story of Separation that holds us as discrete, separate individuals in a world of other, in opposition to random forces and arbitrary events of nature, and in competition with the rest of life. Well-being comes, in this story, through domination and control: glyphosate, antibiotics, GMOs, SSRIs, surveillance systems, border fences, kill lists, prisons, curfews…

–Which pretty much describes most of the nasty stuff going on around us!

It is from this story too that neoliberal capitalism sources its power. It depends on the idealization of competition, encoded in “free markets,” as a law of nature and primary driver of progress; on the sanctity of private property (which is a primal form of domination) and, most of all, on exercising control over others through the creation and enforcement of debt.

At some point, Brexit, Trump, or worse will shake us out of our trance, break our fascination with this world story, and force us to confront the beliefs that underpin it all. Maybe then humanity will embrace the interbeing that is our true home, and we can all live in this world together.

Coal Karma

There is a certain degree of karmic fruiting involved in the whole threat of toxic coal ash dumping in this little southern community.

I say this with trepidation and apologies to friends and neighbors involved, as I don’t mean to make light of the threat or the struggle to prevent it, but only to put it in the larger context. And certainly I’m not saying it in the sense that this county, this community, has done something to specifically deserve this fate. (Though our leaders could have been more astute!)

No, the choice of spots to dump on is pretty random in the rolling engine of destruction, the Leviathan that is big-coal/big-utility/big-disposal.

In the bigger picture, however, the cultural context of late-stage capitalism in the U.S., we all have brought this on ourselves, gorging ourselves on the material world without thought of the consequences for the past several centuries. In a capitalist system ruled by profit, if we want cheap energy for the vast array of “labor-saving devices”, entertainment, recreation, travel, business – and all in air-conditioned comfort – then we must burn coal, split atoms, dam rivers, drill and mine. All those things that are insult to the Earth and anathema to life.

Why have we done this?

As Ta-Nehisi Coates explains in his recent work Between the World and Me, [see my post], the same mentality that created and perpetuated the plunder of colonialism, slavery, and racism is behind our current ecological crisis:

Once, the Dream’s parameters were caged by technology and by the limits of horsepower and wind. But the Dreamers have improved themselves, and the damming of seas for voltage, the extraction of coal, the transmuting of oil into food, have enabled an expansion in plunder with no known precedent. And this revolution has freed the Dreamers to plunder not just the bodies of human beings but the body of the Earth itself.” [p. 150]

In another post, I noted:

Both [Coates and James Baldwin] maintain that the same forces that have driven black people into slavery have created the degraded forms of life now ruling the ghettos and the suburbs alike, and promise to destroy all that is lovable in human life as well as threaten the very biosphere – at least the parts of it that we depend on. Baldwin sees our only salvation in “transcendence of the realities of color, of nations, and of altars.” [p. 81]

So this threat of toxic destruction looming over small rural communities throughout the southern U.S. could be seen as the ultimate karmic retribution for our sins of racism, consumerism, plunder.

I believe that only as we can rise above these past divisions and join together will we be able to avoid this immediate threat and the long-term threat our way of life poses to life on the planet.

Related posts:

https://shunyatasapprentice.com/2015/09/30/the-fire-next-time/

https://shunyatasapprentice.com/2015/09/18/as-though-she-were-normal/

https://shunyatasapprentice.com/2015/09/29/on-between-the-world-and-me/

No Coal Ash – ANYWHERE!

Janisse Ray, my friend and a writer and an activist whom I consider a national treasure, has written a powerful essay, “From Ashes Such as These, What can Rise?”, about the attempt by waste disposal giant Republic Services to use the regional landfill here in Wayne County as a coal ash dump.

In exposing the depths of the corrupt machinations and big money behind this attempt, her article reveals much more than a poor county with challenged local governance being exploited by a powerful corporation. And it reveals more than just the fact that Big Coal and Big Power and Big Money don’t give a rip about rural America.

Both of which are certainly true and truly revealed in her article.

Her article also shows what can happen when a community decides to speak up in its own behalf. And how difficult it can be to win against the Big Boys – even when everyone, or apparently nearly everyone, is opposed to them. It shows the true horrors that coal in every aspect of its life (other than deep underground where it belongs) poses for us.

But Janisse goes beyond all that, ranging deep and wide in the essay, showing how much love for the natural world – and how much intelligence – lives in these people in the Deep South, and what it is that we really stand to lose here. She buries the knife deep in our hearts with personal stories of what we’ve already lost in rural life, and makes a passionate cry for the salvation of the South, for the resurgence of rural America.

This is an essay that needs to be read widely in America today, because though we poor rural communities in the South are prime targets, we are not alone. Everyone is vulnerable and likely to be victimized in this game.

But there’s a deeper reason we all need to read this essay. A deeper reason we need to consider this whole issue… deeply.

Us vs. Them

I awoke in the middle of the night – which is not so unusual for me, but this night, I could not stop thinking about coal ash, the death of the flatlands, and the arrogance of power that we face; this little story playing out in our tiny, poor county is really the whole story. The big story. The Old Story. The story of an industrial/post-industrial/post-post-industrial world gone rogue.

Yes, we are engaged in a penultimate battle here in Wayne County: Us, the rural community, vs. Them, the life-destroying Agents of Death — Big Coal, Big Power, Big Waste. Corporate America.

That’s how the battle lines are drawn. And that is a battle we can only lose.

We face accusations of selfish, NIMBY-style hypocrisy in this fight, perhaps justly, because we all enjoy the lifestyle, the products, the ease that cheap energy provides. And someone has to pay the price.

So – if we only win that battle, a win that simply forces Them to dump their poison “somewhere else”, then it will be a hollow victory.

Yes, on this immediate issue, the dumping of toxic waste in our landfill, we need to win. And By Whatever Means Necessary. Because there is truly more at stake here than our own comfort. Ecosystems, aquifers, the biosphere. A lot. Ultimately, this is a battle in the War for the survival of human life on this planet.

So in truth, we are bound by moral decency and our common humanity to oppose coal ash. We are bound because coal ash is where it all ends up. Someone, somewhere has to stand up and say, “No more.” If we can do that, and by it inspire the other target communities across the land to stand up and refuse to accept coal ash, what will Big Energy do?

If that happens, eventually, the truth will dawn on everyone that we just can’t keep making coal ash. If there’s nowhere to put it safely, then we just must stop digging coal out of the ground and burning it. That may mean we have to pay more for our electricity. It may mean we must reduce our consumption of energy.

In fact, it clearly does mean we must reduce our consumption of everything.

Aye, and there’s the rub.

So, in the long run, the battle is Us vs. Us.

If we can see through all the layers of pain, confusion and anger that cloud it, then that is a battle we could win. In fact, that is the War, the War for human survival, and it can be won only by realizing that it’s Us vs. Us, transcending the formulation that demonizes those ‘others’ and lays all the blame on them for this situation.

It’s Us, the Georgia Power/Southern Company customers who love our cheap power, it’s Us, consumers across America, across the continent and around the world, who are responsible for the existence of this coal ash, and only as we realize this and confront our own complicity, our own addictions to power, to ease, to comfort, to self will the causes for this War cease.

Baldwin again…

Am on my third Baldwin novel now… Another Country. So powerful. And so wonderful to read, because he is such a truly great novelist. This is literature, folks.

But it is also social commentary that partakes of the sharpest insight, the most unflinching eye, the truth most clearly spoken. This exchange between Vivaldo, the best friend of jazz musician Rufus, and another friend, an older white woman, is – especially for 1962 – profound:

[Vivaldo] “I know I failed him, but I loved him, too, and nobody there wanted to know that. I kept thinking, They’re colored and I’m white but the same things have happened, really the same things, and how can I make them know that?”

“But they didn’t,” she said, “happen to you because you were white. They just happened. But what happens up here [Harlem] happens because they are colored. And that makes a difference.”

The story reveals much about the social sources of the demons that plague “mixed-race” relationships of all kinds, but it is of such fierce artistry, such depth of understanding, that it reveals much of what is in our hearts that plagues all our relationships. This is Rufus and Vivaldo talking:

[Rufus] “What do you want — when you get together with a girl?”

“What do I want?”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“Well,” said Vivaldo, fighting panic, trying to smile, “I just want to get laid, man.” But he stared a Rufus, feeling terrible things stir inside him.

“Yeah?” and Rufus looked at him curiously, as though he were thinking, So that’s the way white boys make it. “Is that all?”

“Well,” — he looked down– “I want the chick to love me. I want to make her love me. I want to be loved.”

There was silence. Then Rufus asked, “Has it ever happened?”

“No,” said Vivaldo, thinking of Catholic girls and whores. “I guess not.”

It is violent, dark and sometimes painful to read, for it grabs you by the heart and shakes! But it is a deep and beautiful story of the human condition.

Baldwin is at times prescient, as in these sentences early in the story:

The great buildings, unlit, blunt like the phallus or sharp like the spear, guarded the city which never sleeps. Beneath them Rufus walked, one of the fallen — for the weight of this city was murderous — one of those who had been crushed on the day, which was every day, these towers fell.

I’m only about a third of the way through it, but I will finish soon. I can hardly stop reading.

Giovanni’s Room was also  intense and poignant, the story of a young American in Paris running from his American-ness, his oppressive father, his own nature, his love of boys… hiding in a loveless relationship and destroying everyone around him in the process.

Though fully the realism that Baldwin excels at writing, the Giovanni’s Room also has elements of existentialism, especially in his descriptions of the room itself, of the emotional and physical space it becomes, as well as in descriptions of the city and its people.

I highly recommend reading Baldwin for enjoyment, for broadening one’s vision of American literature, and for his deep insights into humanity and society.

Will fascism destroy us?

Just saw “The Mockingjay Pt. 2” last night!

Powerful movie, very intense and moving on many levels, and – finally! – makes the message of the Hunger Games trilogy+ clear.

Much of the impact of the first three movies seemed to be glorifying militarism and heroism and all that typical Hollywood bullshit, but in Pt. 2, it’s clear that all that heroism, all that rebellion and fighting against evil, is in vain.

For in the end, it’s just “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” One fascist is overthrown by another fascist, who is succeeded by a general, and we never see what the social results of all this are…

As someone wise once said, your means become your ends. Violence, even against ultimate evil, begets violence. The story uses a clever deus ex machina to resolve the whole thing into a happy ending, but a harder-edged, more realistic ending would have made for a stronger message.

The true message – and of course this story is an allegory of our own society, tho many seem oblivious to that – is that authoritarianism is at the heart of what is destroying the earth and its people. That impulse within some to seize power and within others to worship it as salvation is what has brought us to this sorry state in the societies of the world.

Only if we humans begin to understand and look honestly at those impulses to control and be controlled will we be able to begin to design a world that is compatible with the rest of life. The path to that understanding is not clear to me, but I feel the ideas of a “new story” as presented in the work of a number of current thinkers – such as Eisenstein’s ‘The More Beautiful World’ – point the way to next steps.

My cynical, realist side says that all that now stands may need to be destroyed for a new story to take hold. My love of the next generation makes me hope that isn’t necessary.

Looking at the rhetoric from those who posture as leaders now makes me fear that the next year may be critical in which way that goes. Trump’s parallels to Hitler are not as frightening to me as the parallels in our people to those of early 20th Century Germany. I struggle to find ways of expressing this that communicate well to people with little sense of history and understanding of human social psychology.

If we don’t come together in ways that help all our citizens see these things, I fear the results of our next elections may seal things off in ways that will make it hard to come back…

Inspiring conversation on racism

A recent post on Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Turning Wheel media has inspired really interesting conversation about racism, white privilege, and what we all can do to further the cause of peace and justice is this beleaguered country.

Posted by Katie Loncke, the essay on “Direct Action Gets the Goods” addresses the controversy over the disruption of a speech by Bernie Sanders at a Social Security/Medicare rally.

The article and most of the comments are excellent and all worth reading, as they show something of the pervasive nature of racism in our society. A comment by Eko Joshua Goldberg contains this gem:

To me, the real power of this action and the earlier disruption at Netroots Nation was not that it made Bernie Sanders’ campaign get real and improve its position on white supremacy, racism, and anti-black violence (although that does seem to have happened). It was the exposure of the reality of the present moment, both in showing the deep love, strength, and courage of black movements and black women to speak truth to power in the face of tremendous violence and repression; and also nakedly exposing white supremacy and racism among many white “progressives”

Eko is answering some who seemed to take umbrage at the disruption. Yes, even in this context, the progressive members of a socially engaged Buddhist organization, there is division and misunderstanding of the nature of white privilege.

Eko also provides this very revealing list of things that we all could do to be part of the solution:

For my part I vow to:
* work diligently to stop forgetting the reality of white supremacy, i.e., to see more clearly
* be honest about my white privilege and use it to help build anti-racist movements
* challenge systemic racism, colonialism, and white supremacy
* challenge interpersonal violence, hatred, and bigotry rooted in racist, colonial, and white supremacist thinking
* talk with other white people about how white supremacy, white privilege, racism, and colonialism plays out in our lives and in our communities, talk about what we can do to change that, and then follow through with action
* celebrate, appreciate, and promote the survival and liberation work being done by Indigenous people and people of colour, and provide solidarity/support in ways that are requested
* listen when I get called out for my deluded thinking and mistaken behaviours, and learn from my mistakes
* invite advice, critique, and comment

I’m thinking of adding his list to my morning vows.

P.S.: Another deeply moving comment from one of the participants, Dr. Amie Harper:

So, just let me know when it’s ‘okay’ to ‘disrupt’ the system of racism and anti-black violence that could kill me, my dad, my mom, and my beautiful lovely 1, 4, and 6 year old children. Let me know when you ‘approve’ of how I do it. Let me just sit here and wait for the ‘okay’ and cross my fingers that my brother will be okay. That my 6 year old son, while playing at the playground, won’t become the next Tamir Rice. Perhaps as I move to the next new job I get, hundreds of miles away, I won’t become the next Sandra Bland. Let me just sit here patiently and wait for those who are ‘irritated’ to let me know the CORRECT way for me to make sure we don’t inconvenience you with our lack of ‘civility’ in doing through the ‘proper measures.’ Let’s spend more time debating that than you actually doing something more. And please, let’s save the, “Breeze, you just don’t understand. For change to happen, the best way for [Black women] to be taken seriously is to go through ‘proper’ procedure, like voting or engaging with the political system another way, or getting ‘real’ jobs (because activism isn’t a ‘real job’ for some.”

Dr. Harper was inspired by the discussion to post the article from which this quote is taken on her blog.

Maia on Charleston…

My friend and Zen teacher Maia Duerr has written what may be the best analysis of the whole Charleston tragedy and the racist milieu that gave rise to it.

Using the context of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, Maia breaks it down in ways that offer deep insight into the social and individual aspects of this national problem. Though it is Buddhist to the heart, it transcends that, and so is easily understandable and meaningful for all, Buddhist or not. Maia includes some wonderful quotes from Dr. King and Wendell Berry, as well as the Buddha and others, that elucidate her message beautifully.

These understandings are what we as a society must embrace if we hope to come out of this misery of racist lostness.

Dreams of Freedom.

“I believe it is essential for us to call this for what it is. This was not simply the act of one very disturbed young man. It has its roots in racial violence and distortions and inequities that have been part of the fabric of our country since its inception.

 

http://maiaduerr.com/dreams-of-freedom-responding-to-charleston/

Economic Injustice and Buddhist Teachings

A recent article by my online friend Maia Duerr, writing on the Turning Wheel Media site, addresses issues that are central to my own concerns recently: how do the Buddha’s teachings, and our practice, relate to the social, environmental and political problems that threaten to sink our society and indeed humanity?

This article focuses on Economic Injustice. Maia points out that the Buddha clearly gave his teachings a social dynamic:

We so often ignore the most basic teaching of the Buddha, that interconnection is the truth of things as they are. We forget that when Shakyamuni Buddha had his own awakening, from the get-go he put it in this collective context: “I and all sentient beings on earth, together, attain enlightenment at the same time.”

She goes on to point out that these social problems all have roots in our individual and collective ignorance of this interdependence, and the cravings and aversions that arise out of that ignorance.

(I would add again, the three poisons – rendered in the article as greed, anger, and delusion – I think are easier to understand as ignorance, attachment, and aversion. But that’s another post.)

Identifying racism, classism and corporate control of resources as some of the social manifestations of the three poisons, she says we’ll only begin to address these problems when we understand those roots.

As Thich Nhat Hanh suggested, when our practice begins to mature, we find ourselves ready to get up off the cushion and address the problems in front of us.