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Posts Tagged ‘anti-nukes’

Shibayama’s first paragraph in this section reads:

The real life and spirit of Zen is an experiential fact.  It does not rely on letters, that is, on written or verbal expressions which function within the dualistic limitations.  From the very beginnings of human self-consciousness, human beings have been making the mistake of confounding the experiential fact and its expressions in letters which are just the conceptual shadows of the fact. We are liable to believe that the experience itself exists in letters and words. Zen, which insists that the direct, genuine experience is basic, regards letters and verbal expressions as of secondary importance (page 23).[1]

Don’t get me wrong in this part or in Part 3 I am not suggesting that you don’t read and study and learn about Buddhism and Zen in particular.  It is good to understand and know the philosophy by which Buddhists live and how they relate to the outer world in a Buddhist way. But the words we read are empty and temporary and do not in and of themselves make this a better place in which to live or make you a better person.  When we demonstrate our knowledge of the teachings by our own “direct actions” and not by reciting a koan or a sutra or something we read in a book we are demonstrating the life and spirit of Zen.

 

Peace Pilgrim

One of my favorite people that ever walked on planet Earth was life’s perfect example of living the spirit of Zen and she was not a Buddhist: The Peace Pilgrim.  From 1953 until 1981 when she died she walked around the world to share her message of peace and to stop the proliferation of nuclear arms. She did not rely on letters!  She believed “when enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will all become more peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war (page xi).”[2]  In those few years she walked 25,000 miles for her vow: “I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until I am given shelter and fasting until I am given food.”  She walked those 25,000 miles without a penny in her pocket.

 

 

She was a great example of Shibayama’s teaching that we demonstrate our knowledge by our own direct actions. Her “real life” was demonstrated in her actions as she walked as a “prayer” and as a chance to inspire others to pray and work with her for peace.  Peace in all ways she suggested: within ourself, as we express it toward others, and how our peaceful actions can encourage our communities, states, and countries to work toward peace.

She was the spirit of Zen that did not rely on letters but her “direct genuine experience” of walking and sharing her peace and love with everyone she met as she walked those 25,000 miles.

Ask yourself today are you simply reading about Zen or are you living Zen and how many miles would you walk expressing your vow?  Do you even have a vow?

 

[1] Shibayama, Z. (1970) A Flower Does Not Talk Zen Essays. Charles E. Tuttle Co.: Vermont & Tokyo Japan

[2] Friends of Peace Pilgrim publication, first published in 1982, http://www.peacepilgrim.org

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The Peace Pilgrim walked across America talking about peace, working with the anti-nuclear movement, and the anti-war movement most of her adult life.

Peace PilgrimFrom 1953 until 1981 this silver-haired woman, with cheerful obedience to her calling, was a server in the world. As she approached each country hamlet or sprawling city she carried to all she met a message of peace expressed so simply: When enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will become more peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war (2004 page xi).[1]

Many people have never heard of her and I hope this little blog about her will inspire you to order her free book from the Friends of Peace Pilgrim at www.peacepilgrim.org or friends@peacepilgrim.org.

She walked across this country with nothing but the cloths on her back and a vest with pockets where she kept all she believed she needed, paper, pencil, envelopes, and stamps. She ate only when invited to by strangers and friends. She slept outdoors unless invited into someone’s home for shelter. She walked over 25,000 miles before her death in a tragic car accident on her way to give a talk on peace at a college. She spoke to young people on college campuses, people in churches, and parks, and on the roadside everywhere she went.

During her years on the road she was picked up and jailed several times for vagrancy because she carried no money, but she said, “they always release me once they understand (page 33). When she went in front of the judge in one state they released her because they found this letter in her vest pocket.

It read: The bearer of this note has identified herself as a Peace Pilgrim walking coast to coast to direct attention of our citizens to her desire for peace in the world. We do not know her personally as she is just passing through our state, but since undoubtedly it will be a long, hard trip for her, we wish her safe passage.” It was on official stationery and signed by the governor of the state, Howard Pyle (page 34).[2]

I know that I would not have the courage or the conviction to spend my adult life on the road for a cause such as this, but she did and was able to raise the thoughts and minds of thousands of her followers, college students, police, and politicians and ordinary citizens through her convictions and drive to see peace in the world and disarmament of all nuclear bombs that she believed could and would destroy the planet as we know it.

This war mongering again from some American politicians and their followers is just what she gave her life to upend and what brought this little book on my bookshelf into my hands this morning.

As such I end this post with a poem that she wrote. I hope you share it with everyone you know to help stop the war mongering, shouts, and actions toward war that are here among us today.

War Fever

That terrible blindness—

Which makes your foe appear like a fiend

And makes you look like fiend to him—

War fever!

 

That awful insanity—

Which makes the same act brilliant strategy for you

And foul treachery for the enemy—

War fever!

 

That frightful drunkenness—

Which muddles the mind until wrong seems like right,

Hate appears good, and murder a virtue—

War fever!

 

That horrible sickness—

For which no cure is sought, but instead

Ways are sought to spread the disease—

War fever! (page 164)[3]

 

I hope there is an antidote invented for this “war fever” before we exterminate human kind on planet Earth. As Peace Pilgrim said, “When enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will become more peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war.”[4]
This I wish for you and for all our politicians in every country around the world.

 

Namaste, Shokai

 

[1] Peace Pilgrim Her life and Work In her Own Words, Friends of Peace Pilgrim and Ocean Tree Books, 2004.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid

 

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