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#4137 - Monday, January 17, 2011 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights -       A

Sangha by Another Name  

By the mid-1950s, as the Beats looked toward Zen, so did a few black
musicians and poets; and of course by then the Civil Rights Movement was
underway, led magnificently by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who took
Mahatma Gandhi as his inspiration. After a pilgrimage to India in 1958,
where he visited ashrams and sought to learn more about nonviolence not
simply as a political strategy but as a way of life, King came back to
America determined to set aside one day a week for meditation and fasting.
In the 1960s, he nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize the outstanding
Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. King was, at bottom, a Baptist
minister, yes, but one whose vision of the social gospel at its best
complements the expansive, Mahayana bodhisattva ideal of laboring for the
liberation of all sentient beings (“Strangely enough,” he said, “I can never be
what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what
you ought to be until I am what I ought to be”). His dream of the “beloved
community” is a sangha by another name, for King believed that, “It really
boils down to this: that all of life is interrelated. We are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”  


from article by Charles Johnson    

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. - Dr Seuss

King’s use of skillful means (upaya kushala) brought something uniquely
redemptive to the struggle for black liberation in America; he established
the actions of the Civil Rights movement as morally superior to those of its
opposition. However, King never sought to humiliate his opponents. A
practitioner of satyagraha* endeavors to respect his opponent, retain him as
friend, and provide him with a way to save face during their encounter so
that he can maintain his dignity and join the ranks of the enlightened. [...]

When practicing soul force, activists were urged to work for change in the
world and in themselves simultaneously. These “moral experiments” were
intended to be performed in their daily lives as scientists might test their
theories. Such an approach is in perfect accord with satyagraha’s* insistence
that it is futile to implement ideas in the public realm if we fail to practice
them in our personal lives. Dharma teacher and mendicant monk Claude
AnShin Thomas understood this well when he said, “As a Buddhist, I cannot
think myself into a new way of living, I have to live myself into a new way of
thinking.” If we hope to end war and violence, Thomas noted, “we must simply
stop the endless wars that rage within.”

article by Charles Johnson  

*Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore
serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement
Satyagraha, that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or
non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance”, in
connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it
and used instead the word “satyagraha”....[definition by Gandhi]    


Collage by Rashani Rea   

  It is from that place of intense aliveness, spacious presence, that you can
appreciate the aliveness in all things. It is more than just the sense
perception of the chair or the perception of the table or the glass of water.
Within the sense perceptions you can sense that there is more than what you
are perceiving on the surface; that everything has a presence, an alive
presence to it. When you touch that within you, then you don't have to wait
for something to happen in your life to feel more alive.

- Eckhart Tolle

What is not-knowing?  

The state of not-knowing is a riveting place to be. And we don’t have to
climb rocks to experience it. We encounter not-knowing when, for instance,
we meet someone new, or when life offers up a surprise. These experiences
remind us that change and unpredictability are the pulse of our very
existence. No one really knows what will happen from one moment to the
next: Who will we be, what will we face, and how will we respond to what we
encounter? We don’t know, but there’s a good chance we will encounter some
rough, unwanted experiences, some surprises beyond our imaginings, and some
expected things, too. And we can decide to stay present for all of it.

- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

Editors Note: We always appreciate hearing from our readers, and if you
have written us, well you know who you are. Thank you, one and all.

I would like to return the favor to just one reader who often sends notes of
appreciation. Emilie Unkrich, congratulations on your son, Director Lee
Unkrich, winning a Golden Globe for Best Animation Film for Toy Story 3. I
saw all three of the fantastic Toy Story movies and loved them. And I was
most impressed by the way Toy Story 3 presented issues of change,
impermanence, betrayal, loss and the loyalty of love, all in a way that both
children and adults could appreciate. The storyline went to some surprisingly
dark places while still being very uplifting and funny. This award was a most
well deserved accolade.  

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