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Lions Roar : November 2018
are about people who’ve never felt loved in their lives. Then, through this loving community, people who’ve never felt that they were worth anything know that they are worth something. They know they are worthy of love. Finally, there’s a third level of suffering, which is sometimes considered the most profound of all. That’s the suffering that comes from having a closed mind and a hard heart. It’s the suffering that comes from feeling that some people are import- ant and other people just don’t count, that “this group is okay and that group is not okay.” This closed-mindedness and hard-heartedness is a very deep kind of suffering. This kind of mind is actually getting a lot of press right now because of what’s happening at our borders. I don’t know if it’s fair to say that it’s indifference to suffering, but it’s not being able to have an empathetic feeling, a feeling of kinship, with people whose lives are so desperate that they’re trying to get into the United States for a better and safer life. The way Homeboy addresses this kind of mind is very inter- esting. One of the ways is to have people who were formerly enemies, like members of rival gangs who would have happily shot each other, work together side by side. When people get to know each other, that cuts through the closed-mindedness and hard-heartedness. It’s not easy to create situations in which something softens up in a hard heart or opens up in a closed mind, but if a lot of people knew how to do that, can you imagine what kind of world this would be like? What a great place it would be! That would be peace on Earth, you know. I’m very impressed with the bodhisattva activity of Homeboy Industries. It’s a whole community of people who are committed to alleviating suffering and the causes of suffering. I think that’s all I want to say, except, “Three cheers for Homeboy Industries!” FATHER GREG BOYLE: I think what Pema is expressing is our dream. What would it look like if we cultivated a community of kinship such that God, in fact, might recognize it? How can we imagine a circle of compassion with no one standing outside it? It’s about going out to the margins, because that’s how the margins get erased. It’s about standing with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. You stand with the easily despised and the readily left out. You stand with the demonized so the demonizing will stop, because demonizing is always untruth. You stand with the disposable so the day will come when we stop throwing people away. And you imagine something dif- ferent; you dream of something different. That’s what Pema’s teachings have shown me for many years, even before I met her. A lot of Buddhist texts start with these sweet words: “Oh nobly born, remember who you really are.” I think that’s what happens at Homeboy. You remember who you really are. This morning, I got a text message from Dennis, one of our workers. He said, “They may have to cut off half of my tongue.” Someone had shot at him. They missed but it caused a car acci- dent and he bit into his tongue. He said, “My tongue isn’t heal- ing, they’re going to have to cut it off.” I texted him back and said, “Dennis, my magnificent son. Oh nobly born, remember who you really are. You are this light and Here’s the truth: You are exactly what God had in mind when God made you, oh nobly born. —Father Greg Boyle LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2018 30