Yes, Black Lives Matter!

Of course All Lives Matter, and not just human lives. Still, we must stress, Black Lives Matter!

Those who have a problem with this suffer from black and white thinking. Sorry if you object to that assertion, but don’t get angry with me. Instead, please examine your own thinking more deeply. You will find it is a suffering, a violence, in your own minds, and towards truth and humanity. We must heal this disease. For all our sakes.

Consider this. “Educate Girls.” Throughout the world the single most useful form of development, according to the World Bank and others, is to educate girls. This is the most cost effective way to foster development and has wide-ranging benefits for building healthier societies around the world. So why don’t the people who object to “Black Lives Matter” object to “Educate Girls”? Because it doesn’t mean don’t educate boys. Asserting “educate everyone” doesn’t focus where we need to. We need to shift enough resources into educating girls, so that’s what we must say.

The same holds with Black Lives Matter. Doesn’t mean white, brown, and pink lives don’t matter. They matter too. The problem is that many behaviors, especially systemic, treat too many black lives, and brown lives, and, in much of the world, girl lives, as if they don’t matter or matter less. When those behaviors — individual and systemic — change sufficiently, we can proclaim All Lives Matter honestly. Until then, we must insist “Black Lives Matter!”

It’s really very simple. So let’s stop attacking the truth messengers and change behaviors until all lives are truly treated with equal dignity, respect, care, and love.

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Freedom in the USA

I was asked for permission to repost this piece from Inquiring Mind. Here’s its new location: Freedom in the USA.

Note: This is not a comment on what happened in Orlando.

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Recent work at LP & on-going

rocky_0842Spring is always a busy time here, first of all with nature systems erupting in green, blossoming, and births. Came early this year and so we are further behind than usual. Practicing equanimity with that and our limited capacities. Preparing for Guesthouse construction, too.

Doug_0836Fortunately, friends give us helping hands. Bill (Oak Park) began dismantling the old tipi platform last month. Some of the boards were rotting, so it was becoming dangerous to critters and people. Fortunately, much of the wood is salvageable (e.g. for hermitage firewood storage and compost bins). Doug (Wauwatosa), with some help from me, finished the job, which involved removing old nails and screws.

flagstones_0834A week ago, Suzanne (Berwyn) improved the approach to the hermitage with flagstones and screenings. This makes the approach less likely to be muddy and slippery in wet or icy weather.

This weekend, Cindy (also Wauwatosa) applied sealer to the hermitage loft and ladder so that the surfaces will better tolerate traffic. Now it’s even more commodious than before.

Doug-Cindy_0837Weather note: This Memorial Day weekend was intended as a “work weekend” with friends from Tender Shoot of Joy. The weather forecasts were discouraging and even Saturday morning looked like we wouldn’t get any work done, as our list has mainly outdoor projects. Yet, the day was largely dry from 10 am through evening except for a light rain just before noon and a heavy but quick downpour around 6 pm. We ended up getting a good amount done after all. With time for scything around garden after the downpour.

… coming soon: Visit from Arborist …

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Departing Elders

Honored elders play a large role in life, especially in Asia, and I have been blessed by many. In recent weeks, three have passed: Bishop Julio X Labayen, ocd (Philippines); Ajahn Runjuan Indarakamhaeng (Siam); and now Br. Jarlath d’Souza, csc (Bangladesh). I want to write proper memorials for each of them but their deaths have come in quick succession and the cumulative loss — midst fond memories and great gratitude — is more than I would have thought. Ah, the heart doesn’t ‘think’ that way. Time is needed.

For now, I’ll share this link sent by an old friend from Bangladesh:

Br. Jarlath is the finest exemplar of inter-religious work I have met. He selflessly supported our Buddhist friends from the Chittagong Hill Tracts and other religious minorities. Through BICPAJ, he hosted and facilitated my visits to Bangla and the CHTs. He showed and explained realities of his diverse country. He translated during meditation retreats on which I mainly taught Buddha-Dhamma, tho he and others were not ‘Buddhist’ with a big “B.” Yet he was very much awake, knowing, and open like a lotus, the prime attributes of Buddho.

His example of dedication, humility, kindness, and intelligence still inspires me.

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Chicagoland retreat April 29 – May 1st

While we have plenty of people to do the upcoming Insight Chicago retreat, there is plenty of space for a few more folks who could use a long weekend with breathing, noble silence, and exploration of mind.

Caring, Insight & Freedom: Contemplation of Breath, Body, & Mind

April 28 – May 1 at Portiuncula Center for Prayer, Frankfort,. IL

For those in the Chicago Area, or not too far away, Insight Chicago’s spring retreat will be held next week at the lovely Portiuncula Center for Prayer in Frankfort, IL (southwest suburb, just south of I-80 near Hwy 45). Arrive Thursday morning so we can start that afternoon.

Santikaro will continue to guide mindfulness with breathing as a foundation and vehicle for exploring lived experience. This retreat will also explore the caring attitude and gentle perseverance important to deeper practice and various approaches to contemplating and coming to terms with the strange world we call “mind.” All of this is in service of direct, clear seeing that liberates us from egoism, engenders confidence in our own lived Dhamma, and contributes to a healthier shared world.

This retreat will take place in noble silence with plenty of time for sitting and walking meditation. Group interviews with Santikaro will be available for everyone. The food is simple and adequate.

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