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I realize issues around gender and inequality are complex, complicated, and nuanced. These TedTalks raise awareness around gender stereotypes, power, violence, and difference. I think they are two great examples that address some of the issues around this conversation.

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Danny Fisher Interviews Prison Chaplain Kobutsu Osho:

A few weeks ago I had my Chaplain Roles and Competencies class read this interview between Danny Fisher and Kobutsu Osho. This is a  class that Danny Fisher used to teach, so it was great to use his Benefit Beings! book, as well as read interviews from his blog. I was really taken by Kobutsu Osho’s answer to Rev. Fisher’s question: Can one be in the (prison)organization but not of it (the prison organization? I continue to hold questions regarding the benefits of being a volunteer chaplain and being a paid chaplain? working within an organization, or outside the organization? Danny and Kobutsu have a fantastic exchange about social justice work and engaged Buddhism. In this interview Kobutsu Osho has some really compelling insights into “the job” of a chaplain–the heart of which is to liberate people, not oppress them. He says, “The only way to do it clean is be a volunteer,”

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Roshi Bernie Glassman is a Peace Maker, he is my teacher’s teacher, and the first successor of Japanese founder Taizan Maezumi Roshi. Roshi Glassman has given contemporary Zen students the Three Tenets. The Three Tenets, notknowing, bearing witness, and loving action, are a method for us to engage in our    lives. He teaches notknowing as giving up fixed ideas about our selves and the universe; riding the breath into Great Silence; emptying yourself and letting go of all your knowing.01 The Dive

And states that “when we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. We don’t have to worry about what to do. We don’t have to figure out solutions ahead of time. Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises.  Continue reading

In Zendo I wrote this article for the Sweetwater Zen Center blog a couple years back about the study council we had on re-translating the gathas we chant. This was the first blog I ever wrote. It was also a powerful process to look more deeply at the meanings of each Chinese character, to process these meanings as a group, to listen to one another, and translate them based on our combined understanding.  What is a gatha? A gatha is a Buddhist hymn or verse. At Sweetwater Zen Center we chant several gathas. First thing in the morning we chant the Gatha of Atonement, before morning service we chant the Verse of the Kesa, before Dharma talks we chant the Gatha in Opening the Sutra, after Dharma talks and at the end of each practice day we chant the Four Bodhisattva Vows, before work practice we chant the Samu Gatha and before eating meals together we chant the Meal Chant. Why change the gathas? On Saturday October 12, 2013 we gathered together for Study Council on Gathas in the yurt. The day after this workshop someone asked why we changed the gathas, saying, “weren’t they fine they way they were?” http://swzc.wordpress.com/tag/swzc/

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