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Lions Roar : January 2018
BY JOHN DEMONT HE IS A WELL-KNOWN author, activist, and one of American Buddhism’s most dynamic and provocative teachers. But once, Rev. angel Kyodo williams was a lonely, bruised little girl living in New York City who would hide her face in a comic book as she walked home from school, avoiding eye contact with those who constantly bullied her. Comic books allowed williams (who doesn’t capital- ize her given or surnames) to escape from reality. Her favorite was the super-powered X-Men, and among this gang of mutants, she felt a particular affinity for the fierce misanthrope Wolverine. “He was the most suspicious of power in humans and mutants,” says williams. “He was the most immersed in Eastern philosophy. He didn’t like people.” That she sees this quality in herself may surprise anyone who encounters the engaging and confident forty-seven-year-old. But so much is unexpected about this maverick Zen teacher, a social visionary who has been described as “the most vocal and intriguing African American Buddhist in America.” “You make a vow to hear the cries of the world”—williams and other faith leaders prepare to protest health care repeal at the office of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, where they were arrested for civil disobedience. Love and Justice The Radical Buddhism of Rev. angel Kyodo williams PHOTOBYCHRISTINEALICINO S LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 47