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Lions Roar : March 2017
Here’s what I would say to my fellow Buddhists about what we need to do now: • A self-centered mindfulness practice is not enough. While nonreactive presence to what’s happening within you and around you is foundational, for me nonreactivity simply creates the conditions for a wise response. Nonreactivity is not the end game. Action is! Please don’t be another privileged person who thinks sitting with YOUR sadness is enough. It’s not! • Practitioners of mindfulness are extremely well positioned to dismantle implicit bias. Even as a gay man, when I look into the depths of my being. I find homophobia. I also find misogyny and white supremacy. If your mindfulness practice is not yet aimed at your own bias, or if you still think bias is not within you, then I’m sorry to say it, but you’re part of the problem. • Across Buddhist traditions, our central commitment is to safety for all beings. history includes physical violence, social ostracizing, the wholesale abandonment of our families, and a lack of safety in just about every institution that matters. I have never had a public moment of affec- tion for another man, gay or straight, without assessing my surroundings for safety. That is trauma. Women, trans- gender folks, people of color, Mexican Americans, immigrants, native people, differently abled people, those with intersectional identities, and the list goes on—all have their own distinct trauma histories that have being triggered by Donald Trump’s election. Western Buddhists: during times like this we need more from you than stan- dard-issue statements admonishing us to “sit with our fear and sadness.” We’re already experts in that! We need safety. We need to know you see us. We need to know you can receive the enormity of what we are carrying. And we need protection. When people in trauma feel threatened, they need safety. Buddhists, you must transform your centers into places of explicit safety. That safety doesn’t exist because you sit on your ass and wish for it. It exists in the resonant field of recog- nition and representation. We need to see and hear ourselves in your teachings. We need to know you understand the issues. Which means you need to put down your usual dharma book and pick up Ta-Nehisi Coates or Lillian Faderman or Kate Bornstein. • We need to know you believe us! Don’t dismiss us with comments about a lack of “equanimity.” In dharma centers across the nation, people are already working overtime simply to stay in a room where they are the only person of color or trans person they see. • Don’t engage in spiritual bypassing, using dharma principles to deny real human suffering. Don’t invoke “imper- manence” or “the truth of dukkha” or LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2017 16 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE