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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 35 if it is impermanent—we create intimacy through our connections and they live on in memory. Also, I thought of all the places in the world where people are cur- rently at war but whose descendants may someday be friends. What will it take, I wondered, in order to have the leaders of these antagonists forswear war so that there are no more gratuitous deaths, no more names on monuments? India’s King Ashoka apparently for- swore war just like that. As the monarch of the Mauryan dynasty from c. 272 to 236 BCE, he had participated in many bat- tles, but eight years into his reign, he ap- parently experienced such genuine horror as he viewed the aftermath of the battle of Kalinga—a battle that he himself had ini- tiated—that he renounced war and took up the dharma. After that, until his death some thirty years later, Ashoka had hospi- tals built and he preserved forests and he made himself available to his citizenry at any time that they should wish to speak to him, day or night. King Ashoka’s insight converted a whole country to peace. These days, though, notwithstanding his efforts and the efforts of others who have preached peace and justice, wars continue. I have more hope now, however, than I did ten years ago. We really do live in a global vil- lage. We do not have to personally live in a war-torn land, or fight in a war, to see images of it all around us. To the farthest reaches of the planet, worldwide media brings the news of what harm people are doing to each other and, as distressing as it is, we often see battles live, in real time. We see people preparing their dead for burial and hear their cries of grief. Of course it is possible to look away, to say, “That’s far away” or “That’s not my family,” but I am encouraged by the possibilities for com- munication via the Internet. People, in unprecedented numbers, are telling each other about what’s happening and talking about effecting change. I am counting on our basic human im- pulse to care. I am counting on all of us coming together as the new Ashoka—the communal Ashoka of our time that says, “No more.” ♦ John daido Loori is a first generation American Zen Master and abbot of Zen Mountain Monaster y in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Using ar tistic expression to communicate the Buddhist teachings, he follows the timeless spirit of the artless arts of Zen. dharma communications 845.688 .7993 www.dharma.net/monstore Zen and the Arts books by american zen master John Daido Loori Making Love with Light gives voice to mountains, rivers, rocks, and sky, and invites us to recognize this body and mind as the great earth itself. The Zen of creativity makes use of the principles of the Zen arts to unlock our creative spirit. Perfect for anyone exploring artistic expression as a means of restoring equanimity and freedom. Hearing with the Eye is a doorway into the profound teachings of Zen through the mysteries of the natural world. A modern commentary on 13th century Zen Master Dogen’s essay Teachings of the Insentient. The Way of Mountains and Rivers interweaves Daido Loori’s commentary, stunning new images, and the poetry of Master Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra to build a compelling moral and ecological perspective for our times. (Fall 2008) www.festivalmedia.org AVAILABLE AT RETAILERS EVERYWHERE WATCH THE TRAILER ONLINE THE BEST BUDDHIST CINEMA ON DVD Narrated by Academy Award ® winner BEN KINGSLEY “. . . tells his story accessibly, lyrically and simply.” – Tricycle PLUS SPECIAL 90 MIN BONUS An Evening With Thich Nhat Hanh “Deep looking is meditation, and deep acting is also meditation.” – Thich Nhat Hanh SEPT 18-39.indd 35 SEPT 18-39.indd 35 7/3/08 1:30:19 PM 7/3/08 1:30:19 PM