It is one thing to discover your own truth, and it is quite another to declare it to the world. Those who appear in this issue of Inquiring Mind have proclaimed their deepest truth, facing the possibility of being criticized, ostracized or even tortured to death.
In conversations with Orville Schell and Jerry Brown, the Dalai Lama speaks with simplicity of his convictions and, without a hint of blame, of the suffering of his people. In our interviews, Thich Nhat Hanh and Tsoknyi Rinpoche each express determination to teach their deepest spiritual understanding, even when challenged to take more politically explicit stands on current issues. In another brave statement, Alan Senauke and others write an open letter urging teachers and sangha members to address the plight of the broader world in their dharma talks and practice. Burmese freedom fighter U Tin U, in dialogue with Alan Clements, inspires us with his conversion through prison dharma practice from a man of war to a warrior for peace. Dramatizing the amazing strength of his character as well as the power of Buddhist meditation practice, he holds to his truth in the face of torture.
Revealing one’s most intimate secrets also demands courage and allows profound transformation, as Caitriona Reed shows us by “coming out whole.” In Nina Wise’s story “Does the Buddha Have Breasts?” a group of women try to find a voice and an inspirational image that matches their own. Sandy Boucher writes warm reflections on the life and work of recently deceased Theravada teacher Ayya Khema. Ronna Kabatznick writes about the “zen” of eating and how we might transform our own longing for nourishment through generosity to others, the ultimate nourishment. Lama Surya Das offers thoughts and anecdotes on doubt and faith in our practice column.
On our poetry pages we featured poems arising from retreat and meditative practice: Sam Hamill’s new translations of haiku by Issa and excerpts from a long poem by Peter Dale Scott.
We hope that the stories, poems and declarations in this issue will inspire us all to live and speak from our own truth and convictions.
The front cover photograph is entitled Two Awakened Hearts View the World. Kuan Yin and the neighbor’s cat Simba repose in Ed Brown and Patricia Sullivan’s garden in Inverness, California. The sculpture is by Patricia Sullivan and the photograph by Ed Brown.
For budgetary reasons, we are focusing on archiving Inquiring Mind’s original articles, interviews and poetry. For the most part, that means leaving out anything that was adapted or excerpted from a book or other publication.
“The Voice of Hope: Alan Clements in Conversation with U Tin U” was adapted from The Voice of Hope by Aung Suu Kyi with Alan Clements (Seven Stories Press, 1997)
“The Zen of Eating,” by Ronna Kabatznick, was adapted from her book The Zen of Eating: Ancient Answers to Modern Weight Problems (Penguin Putnam, 1998)
Poems & Not Poems: “First Retreat: Fire Tending in the Land of Medicine Buddha,” by Peter Dale Scott, was later published in Minding the Darkness (New Directions, 2000). Additional poems were excerpted from The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku by Kobayashi Issa, translated by Sam Hamill (Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1997)
Practice: “Overcoming Doubt,” by Lama Surya Das, was excerpted from Awakening the Buddha Within (Broadway Books, 1997)
The Dharma & the Drama: “Sea Cells, Me Cells • A Reflection on Our Origins,” by Wes Nisker, was excerpted from Buddha’s Nature: Evolution as a Practical Guide to Enlightenment (Bantam Books, 1998)