“Even if the sun rises in the west
the Bodhisattva has only one way.”
– Shunryu Suzuki Roshi
There was a wonderful moment near the conclusion of one of the Presidential debates. When, after countless harsh criticisms and accusations, the candidates were asked to say something complimentary about each other. They paused, the world of political rivalry stopped spinning, and then they both expressed words of praise for their fellow presidential candidate. Then politics whirled back into action, bitter and acrimonious.
Today our country feels divided into red and blue, success and failure, and we wait with hope or dread for what will unfold. Yet, in the midst of division, we can pause and realize the undivided US and let it instruct us on how to move forward together. How often powerful moments are a mix of opportunity and danger.
May this election and all that it might bring be an opportunity for each of us to rediscover our all-inclusive vow of practice that isn’t swayed by the winds of change. May our perspective and actions not be defined by the fearful dictates of animosity and division.
May all beings be free from suffering and realize the liberation of awakening.
Eijun Linda Cutts, SFZC Central Abbess,
Rinso Ed Sattizahn, City Center Abbot,
Furyu Nancy Schroeder, Green Gulch Farm ZC Abbess,
and Ryushin Paul Haller, Urban Dharma Teacher
Photo: Detail from photo of Suzuki Roshi at Tassajara in 1967. Photographer unknown.
The leadership offers this poem by William Stafford.
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider —
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.