Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guitar Strumming Bodhisattva

Ron Brickey (Muji Shindo), one of our guitar strumming Bodhisattvas, is busy working in the Washington DC area. In addition to his regular practice and prison Dharma work; he is diligently involved in the Guitars-not-Guns program which works with at risk youth (see video above).

Ron has been practicing monthly with the inmates at the Federal Prison in Hopewell, Virginia and is currently planning a one day retreat with them in April. The average attendance in the monthly session is about 20 at the Medium risk facility and about 6 at the Low risk facility.  The proposed retreat is first event of this kind at the Hopewell Prison. Ron has permission to take the Buddhist inmates who are interested out of general population for full a day of meditation, silence, and fasting. He says that he is really enjoying working with both the kids and the inmates and adds that this volunteer work is a boon to his own practice.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Annual Thich Nhat Hanh inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Walk

Despite all of our efforts to the contrary, this year’s Peace Walk was a wonderful success. We forgot to put out posters until the weekend before the walk, the scheduled newspaper article promoting the walk never ran, and the morning of the walk was greeted by the year’s first heavy snowfall. But when the eight of us from Open Gate arrived at the lake, dedicated peacewalkers were already at the park waiting for us, wondering if we would show up. Twenty-six hardy souls set out on the long, slow march with us, and by the time we circled back to the starting point, fifty-one different people had walked for all or part of the trek. Their dedication showed us that the lessons of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the continuing efforts of Thich Nhat Hanh have been taken to heart. We have learned that peace is not a single goal to attain, but an ongoing practice. Though there will always be conflict in the world, steady and dedicated efforts by sincere and compassionate people ensure that there will always be peace right alongside it.

Nirvana and the ordinary world of suffering are not two things but related to each other. There is no nirvana except where the world of suffering is; there is no world of suffering apart from nirvana. For existence is not mutually exclusive.”


Lankavatara Sutra