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Lions Roar : January 2018
REV. ANGEL KYODO WILLIAMS’ Buddhist journey began with a single, small book she found in a San Francisco book- store when she was twenty-three—the classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by the late Shunryu Suzuki. As a child, she had attended Baptist and Episcopalian churches, but Christi- anity didn’t work for her. After briefly investigating Islam, she soured completely on monotheism. Soon after reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, williams started her own “closet” Buddhist practice. Tibetan Buddhism drew her in, particularly the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, but she found the strain “too white, male, and unwelcoming.” Zen, though, was different. “It was minimal. It was down to essence. It was cut away. I didn’t want more. I wanted less. It was less about being told than it was questions. And I loved the questions.” Williams’ first formal training occurred at the San Francisco Zen Center. When she moved back to New York, williams heard Right: williams and Lama Rod Owens collaborated on the book Radical Dharma, a call for Buddhist communities to provide healing for queer folk, people of color, and other marginalized groups. Below: williams (center) campaigns for a $15 minimum wage.