We live in times of danger and uprising. Buddhist principles and practices are a rich source of insight, transformation, perspective and peace. What is compassionate action in the midst of injustice, brutality, and ignorance? The lotus grows from recycled refuse. We use all of what we experience—from despair to anger, from grief to love— to transform anguish and protect all beings. Join me, Joseph Bobrow, for lively, in-depth, personal conversations, as we realize the lotus in the midst of a world on fire.
Join me for an illuminating conversation with Donald Rothberg on living a responsive, integrated, empowered life in the face of multidimensional upheaval. Donald is a teacher and writer on meditation, the intersection of psychology and spirituality, and socially engaged spiritual practice. He has taught and practiced Buddhist meditation for over 35 years, and his teaching and trainings have helped to pioneer new ways of connecting inner and outer transformation. He is a member of the Teacher's Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World.
":...If in your country, all hope is lost in the heat of summer / the snows in my country help you to get it back." —Rafael Alberti
Today I'm joined on the pod by my friend and Dharma sister Mushim Ikeda, socially engaged Buddhist teacher, social justice activist, author, and diversity and inclusion facilitator. In this personal and wide ranging dialogue, we explore resources for and challenges of transformation and change, inner and outer, during these trying times. Mushim also reads and discusses her beautiful poem, The Stowaway Seeds. For more, visit MushimIkeda.com and EastPointPeace.org
The Stowaway Seeds
I am afraid to touch the shopping cart, the bright
cool hide of the fragrant orange, the wet sand on the beach.
This pandemic virus spreads RNA
where people pass too close to one another
and gather to buy food, or crowd the ocean’s edge.
“It cannot be killed because it isn’t alive,”
my scientist brother says.
But something unknown has always contained our death,
which is why we are respectful and delicate
as we lift teacups and snow
salt crystals on grilled asparagus and touch one other
and spoons and books and the surfaces of the earth
we will one day be pressed gently between,
like book pages on the fat stems of large leaves.
Such abundant offerings – these tiny crowns
and multiplying stars, the resplendent small burrs
I found in the rough striped blanket
we took to the woods before everything shut down.
They came home with me, to seed
a new world, in which
we aren’t the most important thing.
Join me as I welcome Tenzin Tethong, formerly H.H. The Dalai Lama's Special Envoy and Prime Minster of the Central Tibetan Administration. Tenzin and I discuss the critical importance of free media and the free flow of information in Tibet. He describes a new sense of identity among Tibetans: Even though Tibetans are occupied and controlled by the Chinese, in mind, spirit and in the cultural sense, Tenzin says they cannot be controlled at all. We discuss the fascinating story of Tenzin's family art collection, a series of 84 paintings of legendary Tibetan Mahasiddhis (great beings). These were carried out of Tibet by his Grandfather, and in turn carried by Tenzin around the world. Now all 84 paintings are reproduced in and the subject of a book with commentary by the Tibetan scholar Donald Lopez. Finally, we spoke about the pathos of the increase in self-immolations in Toibet as a way to protest the occupation and plea for H.H.'s return. While they are shocking, Tenzin and other feels that their intention is pure. He showed me a book, Tibet on Fire, that he has been reading about just this. We closed by acknowledging life's 10,000 sorrows and the 10,000 joys.
The incomparable Joanna Macy—author and teacher, scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology—joins Joseph for a stimulating, personal, and wide-ranging conversation. A pioneering voice in movements for peace, justice, and ecology, Joanna is the root teacher of The Work That Reconnects, a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change and a powerful workshop methodology. Her many books include A Wild Love for the World, Active Hope, and World as Love, World as Self.
Susan Murphy, Zen teacher and author of Minding the Earth, Mending the World: Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis, explores responding to the Earth's suffering, which is our own, and the indigenous notion of "country," which "moves beyond landscape, allotment, vista or wildlife as discrete components, to embrace place, Ancestors, shadows, mist, warble, maps, vapor, Knowledge, Ways, Forms, Spirit, Healing – a fluid fixity that is a web of inter-connection...where everything has its place to teach, feel, show, speak."
Zen teacher, eco-activist, and philosopher David Loy explores with Joseph the sense of self, its sense of lack, and the interplay of individual awakening, social transformation, and the fate of the biosphere. David is the author of Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Precipice
Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, author of The Book of Householder Koans, joins Joseph to explore Dharma practice in the midst of our tumultuous times, and the practice of not turning away, bearing witness and compassionate response.
Duncan Williams, author of American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War, joins Joseph and reflects on how crisis and anguish can remind us of how connected to each other we are, how we can work with overwhelm, and use suffering wisely to resist, practice, and liberate ourselves and others.
In this introduction I explain why I'm making the Lotus in the Fire podcast and how it might be of benefit during these times of uprising, danger, and transformation. I lay out some compelling themes and invite you to join me, Joseph Bobrow, and my guests, for lively, in-depth personal conversations on realizing the lotus in the fire.