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Lions Roar : September 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2007 17 Returning to her initial description of the crime, what difference does it make with respect to our judicial system that the perpetrators were colored, malnourished, and barely out of their teens? Does Walker believe that armed robbery and murder are only crimes for white, well-fed people over thirty? Walker demeans non-whites by holding them to lower standards than whites are held. Finally, Walker accuses the jury of being “white and middle-class, well-fed and well- educated...prepared to impose either choice (life imprisonment without parole or the death pen- alty).” Insofar as the jury was prepared to fol- low our legal code, they were an appropriate jury. A jury that is not prepared to uphold the law is one that should be at fault. While we ought to put ourselves in others’ shoes before judging them, still we should convict and punish criminals and facilitate their rehabilitation. Mary Havenford Houghton, Michigan As a woman of color who has been prac- ticing for decades, I would like to thank Shambhala Sun for having bell hooks and Alice Walker on the cover of your maga- zine. It serves as acknowledgment that persons from every strata practice the dharma in ways that best suit them. J. Williams Santa Fe, New Mexico I am a fan of Alice Walker’s writing. I read her article in the May issue with anticipa- tion, knowing that I had an opportunity to read about her intimate relationship with Buddhism. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that she chose to sprinkle her insightful perspectives with narrow, un- true, and predictable comments. No one can deny the catastrophic his- torical treatment of the blacks in this country. However, it’s nearly impossible to deny the enormous strides that many African-Americans have made in the twenty-first century. Instead of celebrat- ing the many African-Americans who have grown and prospered, spiritual lead- ers and teachers perpetuate the mindset of oppression and victimization. Has the non-black community histori- cally made it difficult to pros- per in society? Absolutely! But have you no discomfort about speaking as if we all still lived in the first half of the twentieth century? How long will influential people in the African-American community continue to insist that their brothers and sisters are still victims of “the system”? I truly believe that most of us aren’t racists in this country. I criticize Walker’s agenda because it is misleading, disap- pointing, and unoriginal. Perhaps she should spend more time contemplating the quote from Chandrakirti from the article by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche in the same issue: If you respond with anger when another harms you / Does your wrath remove the harm inflicted? / Resentment surely serves no purpose in this life / And brings adversity in lives to come. Susan Quinn Poinciana, Florida NOTHING PREPARES YOU Thank you for the July edition of the Shambhala Sun. I especially enjoyed the article by Shozan Jack Haubner. As a newcomer to Buddhist practice, and not having a local teacher or sangha, I under- stand practice by reading whatever books I can get my hands on and your magazine (and others like it) and listening to CDs of talks. But as Haubner says, “The ancient sutras, koan work, Pema Chödrön audio cassettes—nothing prepares you” for cer- tain things that happen internally and ex- ternally on the cushion. Reading this fun- ny but real article helped me realize that I am not alone in my difficulties and that I need to quit taking myself so seriously. Adam Wedeking Temecula, California ♦ Thanks We’d like to thank the following individu- als and organizations for their assistance with this issue of the Shambhala Sun: Tsu Tit Chia, Laurel Cook, Florence Delahaye, Don Goldberg, Cherilyn Kay Hawrysh, Travis Masch, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, Rachel Neumann, Laura Simms, Leigh Staffold, Ron Wade. te, s d ll- ose ment pen- cally per But abo stil th lo i and “the system”? SEPT 1-17.indd 17 SEPT 1-17.indd 17 6/25/07 4:31:54 PM 6/25/07 4:31:54 PM