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Lions Roar : January 2018
SHARE YOUR WISDOM How do you express your Buddhist values through political, social, or environmental activity? What’s the most spiritual experience you’ve had while travelling or doing a pilgrimage? Send your answer, photo, and location to firstname.lastname@example.org My vegetarian lifestyle is the most important thing I can do on a daily basis for my society and our planet. —Thomas Neale, Boise, Idaho Where I live, our issues regarding racism, economic disparity, and brutal policing are no secret. We pro- test so that police will stop killing Black people. We protest to demand truth and justice. As I sit here, exhausted, with aching feet from walking miles this weekend, I realize that the gritty street protest felt exactly like walking meditation for me. —Lisa Rokusek, St. Louis, Missouri My social activism currently is asking people who are living in the park, “Do you need anything?” and sharing what I have—fruit, water, snacks, attention, assistance, warmth, love, radical compassionate honesty. This is a living practice of awakening to the illusion of separateness. (All props to Thich Nhat Hahn for teaching this so eloquently). —Ax Shinsei, Fairbanks, Alaska The Icarus Project is a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective lib- eration. A lot of us feel we have spiritual emergencies, but we often get locked up for long hospital stays, sometimes with human rights violations. Buddhism doesn’t make it all go away, but somehow I am coming closer to acceptance and can work with this. —Nancy Pontius, Tucson, Arizona Much of my work focuses on trying to improve policies to ensure the health needs of children who come to the attention of the child welfare system, such as trying to get vulnerable families services they need so that children don’t enter foster care. Buddhism has taught me not to attach my mind to specific outcomes, so that I can work extensively on trying to get legislation passed, and then start over and keep going when it isn’t enacted. —Zach Laris, Washington, D.C. I train guides to provide experiences with a difference for visitors to the South African nature areas. Based on Buddhist principles and philosophy, guides are trained to provide people with a meditative and aware- ness wildlife experience. Guests leave the African natural environment with a set of tools based on Bud- dhist principles to apply to the rest of their lives. —Grant Hine, South Africa LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 26