angel Kyodo williams

‘Something got stolen from all of us. So you have to have compassion for the voice of the heart that has been lost or obscured, whether in others or in yourself. People need spaces of their own in which they can find those stories, reclaim them. No one escaped—no one. So if you think you don’t have a story because you’re privileged, that just means you’re completely in the dark. It is only when you find your story—when you realize the way you think and how you are has been utterly conditioned—that you will understand that even if on the surface you get to do all kinds of things, in truth, you have absolutely no choices at all. You have no choice at all other than to abide in this location and uphold it and be complicit in it for fear that to disrupt it will destroy who you are. You have a right to reclaim yourself, but you have to do the work of finding out how it is that who you truly are has been obscured…

When dharma teachers try to tell me that this work is not the dharma, I say they’re confusing the true dharma with the dharma they’ve made small. Even the notion that the dharma is somehow limited to the historical Buddha’s teachings says a lot about the work they’ve been doing and their understanding of what this is. The dharma—understanding, peering into the nature of reality—is not specific to Buddhism. The dharma is truth. And the only choice we really have is whether to try to be in relationship with the truth or to live in ignorance. There are no other choices. You have to actively engage. How did I come to be? How do I think of myself? How did I get what I have? (I don’t mean your degrees.) Where did I come from? What land are we on? If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. All of us, in some way, have profited from our wrong knowing.’ (from Lion’s Roar)

I have quoted from this talk before, and, having been steered back to it by reverend angel’s newsletter, I will be sharing another part of it soon.


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