angel Kyodo williams

‘I always say that I’m not nation-building around Zen; I’m not nation-building around Buddhism. I think we have to let go of nation-building. What we’re seeing with the introduction and the taking up in the water of different faiths and traditions is people being able to organize themselves and relate to things that actually speak to the complexity of the truth of who they are in a way that wasn’t possible before, because we simply didn’t have the access. We simply couldn’t see as many faiths. It was like a one size fits all, and it was like, “OK, you’re either going to be Catholic or you’re going to be Protestant. And if neither one of those outfits fit you, too bad.” But now we’re like, “Whoa! Not just am I going to be Catholic or Protestant, but I can choose Buddhism, I can choose Tibetan Buddhism, I can choose from four different schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and Zen, and Korean Zen, and Thich Nhat Hanh’s community. I have all of this access.”

We are more complex human beings. Technology is opening that up for us—an awareness of our complexity—and we need a language to speak to that complexity. The role of the traditions is to actually offer people a language to have a communion with themselves, with God, with the Divine, with the great matter. It is not our role to have them have a communion with our pockets. But our role is to offer people the language in which they can meet themselves, meet their god, meet their creator, meet their divine—and to not be mediators who steal the show and mistake ourselves for that divinity, to mistake ourselves for that knowing, that truth, that power, that witness. Our role is just to offer the Logos, the word—just to give people the word and to get out of the way.’ (from an interview with Emergence Magazine)

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