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Lions Roar : July 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2009 64 Because its goal is the diminishment of suffering, no matter what its cause, Buddhism must address social, political, and cultural questions, in addition to the purely personal and spiritual. Continuing our celebration of the Shambhala Sun’s 30th anniversary, we offer Buddhist-inspired comment on topics ranging from the meaning of Barack Obama to the Zen of baseball. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2009 For 30 Years the Best of Buddhism in America: Commentary Writers & the War Against Nature By GAry SNyder How can artists and writers manage to join in the defense of the planet and wild nature? Writers and artists by their very work “bear witness.” They don’t wield financial, governmental, or military power. However, at the outset they were given, as in fairy tales, two “magic gifts.” One is “The Mirror of Truth.” Whatever they hold this mirror up to is shown in its actual form, and the truth must come out. May we use that mirror well! The second is a “Heart of Compassion,” which is to say the ability to feel and know the pains and delights of other people, and to weave that feeling into their art. For some this compassion can extend to all creatures and to the world itself. In a way, nature even borrows the voices of some writers and artists. Anciently, this was a shamanistic role where the singer, dancer, or storyteller embodied a force, appearing as a bear dancer or a crane dancer, and became one with a spirit or