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Lions Roar : January 2019
Favorite meditation practice? Shikantaza, of course. Recommended dharma books? I don’t know that I have a blanket set of recommendations. It would depend on the person and what fits with them at the time. That said, you gotta read Dogen! Your favorite virtue? Patience, because it’s the one I struggle with the most. Your chief characteristic? Probably determination, which is sometimes a problem, but this is really a question for others to answer about me. Your principal poison? Greed. It goes hand-in-hand with impatience for me. Your idea of misery? A society that accepts greed, hatred, and stupidity as inevitable norms and, in some cases, values. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Graveyard shift doughnut fry guy. I remember forearm burns and grease-drenched jeans that NEVER came clean. Name three of your heroes. All indigenous people who speak and stand for Mother Earth and Native traditions. All those who have raised their voices and put their bodies on the line for a more just and peaceful human society. And toddlers because they aren’t afraid of the next step regardless of how unknown, difficult, or who’s looking at them. The natural talent you’d most like to have? I think it might feel really, really good to be a trained athlete or musician. Your favorite author? If we’re talking all-time favorite novelists, then probably Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Poets? Probably Pablo Neruda. Your favorite musician or group? John Coltrane changed everything for me. Your favorite current TV show? This is Us. It’s really nice to have one beautifully written show that isn’t somehow dystopic. What’s for dinner? I’m hoping Italian. Guilty pleasure? Dark chocolate-covered pretzels, hands down. MEET A TEACHER Greg Snyder I WAS RAISED IN YORK County, Pennsylvania. My extended family are ethnically Pennsylvania Dutch, and I was steeped in that culture as a child. My relatives were mostly farmers and factory laborers. I attended the University of Texas, focusing on anthropology and philosophy. During college, I engaged in activism around issues of immigration, labor, and Native peoples and was involved with supporting the Mayan communities in Chiapas when the Zapatista rebellion was active. This affected me deeply. I practice Soto Zen Buddhism in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. My primary teachers are Soshin Teah Strozer and Seirin Barbara Kohn. In 2005, my wife Laura O’Loughlin and I started the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) in a basement. Now it’s in a bigger space and I’m the senior dharma teacher. In 2016, I was asked to come on at Union Theological Semi- nary in New York City to launch a chaplaincy program. The program focuses on Buddhist chaplaincy training and includes social justice perspectives. As well, I also support the efforts of the New York-based Buddhist Action Coalition, whose mission is to organize and inspire compassionate Buddhist initiatives in advancing social, economic, and environmental justice for the benefit of all beings, undertaken through advocacy and nonviolent direct action. Building on these activities, I’m also currently working on a book that’s considering social justice issues through the lens of Buddhist thought and practice. ♦ LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2019 31 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE