From the BlogMeet Ron



Honolulu folks –> Join a supportive group of like-minded folks tonight 6/1616, for meditation, mindful movement and discussion at our place, 3241 Alani Drive, in Manoa, at the usual time: 6 to 7:30 PM. If you have a meditation cushion please bring; if not, no worries. The front door opens at5:50. Note: please do not park in the driveway, as we share this rented house with another couple and we do not want them to be blocked in. Thanks!   
**Bhante Kovida will be leading the session and giving a talk this evening. 
Dear friends,
The American comedian, actor and popular talk show host Stephen Colbert, on the night following the Orlando mass shooting, broke character and delivered a somber monologue.
He said in a muted tone of voice that we all have a pretty good idea of what certain segments of our population will be saying about this tragedy: politicians on both sides, liberal and conservative clergy, gun manufacturers.
He said that it’s as if we have a national script which ends with “well, that the way the world is now.”

But he looked straight at the camera and said “Love allows us to change that script. Love the victims and their families. But remember, love is a verb, and to love is to do something.”
Presidents Obama’s speech included something to the effect: “We are all getting numb to this.”
The popular American Buddhist author Lodro Rinzler wrote on his blog on the day of the massacre:
“I am very sad and tired today. But posting things on the internet doesn’t seem like enough today. So I’m committing to volunteering for a nonprofit that does gun violence prevention work going forward. Do you have one you’d recommend? I am willing to put in a few hours a week.”
The Dalai Lama shared a similar feeking, just as he did after the Paris attacks, pointing out how he “is quite skeptical about the effects of prayer.” He said “The real change, effect, comes through action.”
I have spent the last couple of days reading on various Buddhist blogs and have found a few common threads. But to respond to the notion that we are all getting numb to this, to back up Lodro Rinzler and to challenge the national script — that’s just the way things are now, here is one very key action point:
Buddhists, and anyone else for that matter, can call their congressperson and demand she or he vote for H.R. 4269, a bill that would ban semiautomatic assault weapons like the one used in the Orlando attack. They can also donate to or volunteer with local advocacy groups aiming to end gun violence, like Rinzler is advocating.
Folks can even attend a “We Are Orlando” solidarity event. A website has been created to help people find one in a city or town near them –>>
Love is a verb. And as Colbert said “Love has to do something.”
I’d like to switch gears to what we can do contemplatively.
The world today seems more filled with horrors evil than ever. But I am sure hundreds of thousands felt this horror during the two world wars, the Holocaust, the genocides in Rwanda, mass starvations in Ethiopia and Somalia, and now the slaughter of innocents in Syria.
To say nothing of the threat of rogue nations acquiring both dirty and “clean” nuclear weapons.
Meantime, the planet is heating up every second, and this doesn’t seem to have a happy ending for anyone or anything.
In the face of such horror and calamity, fundamental Buddhist wisdom is to have compassion for both victims and perpetrators. For both the suffering babies with swollen abdomens dying of starvation as well as to the corrupt politicians stealing relief funds and stashing them in overseas shell companies.
And in the case of the Orlando tragedy, for both the victims, their families, and for the perpetrator.
What follows is a heavily edited, redacted set of Facebook comments to one OP (original poster) who asked a very poignant and honest question to a quote by Pema Chodron, that we as Buddhists should have compassion and loving-kindness toward the shooter himself.
I won’t go into the Bodhisattva spirit and why this is crucial to Buddhist spirituality. You can read about this elsewhere, especially in the popular books by Pema Chodron, as well as A Heart As Wide As The World, by Sharon Salzberg.
In the Dhammapada Shakyamuni Buddha, says: “Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time. Hatred ceases by love. This is an eternal law.”
Here is the original question posted on Facebook in a thread discussing compassion for the shooter:
–“I’m getting a lot of flak for suggesting people need to try and develop compassion for the shooter. I guess maybe I just don’t understand the dharma after all.”
And what follows are snippets of replies to this important question:
–“This is why we practice. None of us is totally there yet, or we would be Buddhas. Hold onto your practice. It will get you there.”
–“Compassion cannot be manufactured on the spot. Folks are stumbling through their feelings and trying to catch their breath. Racism, sexism, homophobia, our government’s hierarchy, arrogance, entitlement. Our own projected shadow scapegoating. There is some much confusion at this time. I sit in the gap with all my feelings. I go from unbearable sadness to rage to confusion. Let’s honor the process.”
–“I would ask, have you let the horror touch you? Have you deeply born witness? Or are you using the practice of Dharma to deflect and hold yourself above the pain of this? Often I see practitioners with young practices respond in this deflecting manner, when the complexity and reality is not penetrating them. To understand the Dharma is to hold all of the complexity and all of the suffering. Then to act skillfully.”
A lot to contemplate here.
I would like to end with a posting from Jack Kornfield:
As we move through this beautiful and troubled world, may we vow to be a beacon of peace, a fearless carrier of respect and lovingkindness for all life, a teller of truth, a voice for justice, a protector of those who are vulnerable or targeted, as well as the perpetrators. May the power of wisdom, integrity and compassion be our guide.
And may we follow these instructions of the Buddha: 

Others will kill. We shall not kill. Thus we should direct our hearts.

Others will be cruel. We shall not be cruel. Thus should we direct our hearts.

Others will speak falsely. We will speak what is true. Thus we should direct our hearts.

Others will be fraudulent. We shall not be fraudulent. Thus we should direct our hearts.

Others will be hateful. We shall become loving. Thus we shall direct our hearts.

Others will be unwise. We shall become wise. Thus we shall direct our hearts.

May we carry these intentions with courage, as a beacon and a medicine, as a blessing to all we touch.

With palms together at the heart,

Tom, Katina, Uilalani, and Kupaianaha

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Ron Richey
439 Nahua Street #2
Honolulu, Hi 96815


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