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The Lotus in the Fire

The Lotus in the Fire

By Joseph Bobrow
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.
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Eco-Activism: Human beings, Buddhism and the Biosphere

The Lotus in the Fire

Activating the Power of the Beloved Community
Join Kazu Haga, author of Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm,  and me as we delve into the nature of personal, social and ecological change, healing trauma, and the intersection of non-violent direct action and spirituality. ~ ~ ~ Kazu Haga is the founder and coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy and is an experienced nonviolence trainer, certified in several methodologies of nonviolence and restorative justice. Having received training from elders including Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Rev. James Lawson and Joanna Macy, he teaches nonviolence, conflict reconciliation, restorative justice, organizing and mindfulness in prisons and jails, high schools and youth groups, and with activist communities around the country. Kazu was introduced to the work of social change and nonviolence in 1998, when at the age of 17 he participated in the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage; a 6-month walking journey from Massachusetts to New Orleans to retrace the slave trade. He spent a year studying nonviolence and Buddhism while living in monasteries throughout South Asia, and returned to the US at age 19 to begin a lifelong path in social justice work. Kazu spent 10 years in social justice philanthropy, while playing leading roles in many movements. He became an active nonviolence trainer in the global justice movement of the late 1990s, and has since led hundreds of workshops worldwide. He is the founding board chair of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), sits on the board of Peace Workers, and is a member of the Ahimsa Collective. He is the recipient of several awards including the Martin Luther King Jr. award and the Gil Lopez Award for Peacemaking. Kazu is an avid meditator and enjoys being in nature, particularly with his dog. He is a die-hard fan of the Boston Celtics and of mixed martial arts, the latter of which he is still sometimes conflicted about. " If we carry intergenerational trauma, then we also carry intergenerational wisdom. By maintaining a relationship with our ancestral wisdom, we can build a truly peaceful world for future generations." -Healing Resistance: A Radically Different Response to Harm - Fierce Vulnerability, work in Progress
August 04, 2020
Radical Change— with Roots in the Soil of Relationships
Join me for a most stimulating conversation on the origins and nature of genuine change with Kritee, climate scientist, socioecological community activist, Zen priest, original, integrative thinker, and inspiring presence. Sensei Kritee Kanko, PhD is a climate scientist, educator-activist, grief-ritual leader and a Zen priest.  She is a Sensei in the Rinzai Zen lineage of Cold Mountain, a founding dharma teacher of Boundless in Motion and a co-founder of Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. She has served as an Ecodharma teacher for Earth-Love-Go (Lama Foundation), One Earth Sangha, Impermanent Sangha and Shogaku Zen Institute. As a senior scientist in the Global Climate Program at Environmental Defense Fund she helps implement climate-smart farming at scale in India. She was trained as a microbiologist and isotope biogeochemist at Rutgers and Princeton Universities. Website: Recent blog post:
July 24, 2020
The Power of Compassion in the Face of Anguish
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.
July 14, 2020
Momentum to Seed a New 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 and 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. —Mushim Ikeda
July 07, 2020
The Undying Quality of the Human Spirit
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.
June 21, 2020
A Wild Love for the World
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.
June 16, 2020
Your Liberation is Bound Up With Mine
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."
June 16, 2020
Eco-Activism: Human beings, Buddhism and the Biosphere
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
June 16, 2020
Sitting in the Midst of It
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. 
June 16, 2020
Resistance, Community, and Radical Interconnectness
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.
June 16, 2020
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.
June 08, 2020