*Sacred Order of Bodhisattvas, Buddhies, Beatniks, Bohemians, Bards, and Bozos

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stand with Standing Rock

Stand with Standing Rock!
March on Washington
Friday, March 10 

"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. "
-- Mahatma Gandhi

These are, to say the least, dangerous times. 

With Trumposaurus Rex and his Alligators now occupying the DC swamp and proceeding full speed ahead to drain it -- into their own pockets, apparently -- the myriad strands of our precious web of life on this planet are at risk  -- including the gossamer thread of our democratic government. 

Other than throw more money at our already bloated Military, ICE, and an increasingly militarized domestic police force (see footage below), these pirates and "free market" privateers are acting swiftly to scuttle our ship of state and replace it with a homegrown branch of the Russian Oligarchy.  (With this Administration,  It seems like our Billionaires and their Billionaires are in cahoots already, no?)

It is no surprise that one of the first things that Trumposaurus Rex did once he stomped into the Oval Office was to reverse the Obama administration's directives regarding Standing Rock.  

After all, the American Empire, with it's own virulent blend of Unbridled Greed (aka "free market" capitalism) and Fundamentalist Christianity, was largely built on the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, and the exploitation of natural resources for private gain.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is just another chapter in a long and tragic tale.  The fossil fuel industry, world-wide, continues to despoil the planet and its people. 

It's clear that these folks don't acknowledge our Spiritual Connection to one another and to all beings.  We are not seen as strands in the Web of Life, inextricably bound together in the Oneness of Life.  Their world consists of commodities and consumers.  Water isn't viewed as Sacred.  It's a thing to be consumed.  In fact, like fossil fuels, if these privateers get their way it, too, will soon become another commodity to be sold.  (That is,  unless they pollute it all first, or bring on a nuclear war, or climate change changes everything. )

Yes, these are dangerous times.

Scared? It's time to turn it around and get SacredTake a stand.  You can find out more about the DC action at http://standwithstandingrock.net/march/   
There are many local rallies and marches being held in solidarity as well.  Most these events are being well publicized on social media. Here in Greenfield MA there will be a rally on the Town Commons on Saturday, March 11, Noon - 1:30 PM.  More at: Standing with Standing Rock

The Last Stand of Oceti Sakowin Camp

Warning:  Disturbing Footage

Although the Water Protectors of Oceti Sakowin who had remained through the intensity of a North Dakota winter had tried to negotiate with the Army Corps of Engineers to evacuate in a dignified and environmentally sound manner, they were rebuffed.   

It was extremely disturbing to see that those who remained in peaceful civil disobedience were accosted with armored vehicles and law enforcement officers in military gear with assault rifles drawn. 

I'm amazed by, and grateful for.  their courage and that of the brave souls of Unicorn Riot for this footage.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"I Speak As Someone Who Loves America"

"When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, 
are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, 
extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
-- Dr. Martin King Jr., Speech at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967

"It is my firm belief that Europe of today represents not the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan.  And Satan's successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips.  Europe today is only nominally Christian.  In reality, it is worshiping Mammon."
-- Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, August 9, 1920.

With the nightmare of Donald Trump's coronation looming on the horizon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech seems even more relevant this year.

Dr. King's vision from the Mountaintop was that of taking down walls constructed of fear and hatred, not building them.

Yet, the walls that he dreamed of removing didn't just consist of segregation.  His message was broader and deeper.  For decades now, the corporate media has increasingly whitewashed Dr. King's views on economic justice, materialism and militarism.  Like Gandhi, King's message was essentially Spiritual.  They both saw clearly that Mammon worship, the soul sucking evil of materialism/consumerism, lurks in the belly of capitalism.

Throughout our history, racism and economic exploitation have always walked hand in hand.  The prosperity of the English Empire and it's rebellious teenage child, the USA were built on slavery and genocide.  Sadly, although the form may look different, this continues today.

Like my identical twin brother, Lance, I usually tend to be more Buddhist in my lingo  Yet, I just gotta say it out loud: I agree with Gandhi. This is the work of the devil.

Dr. King, like Gandhi, were Bodhisattvas.   They sought to alleviate the suffering created by a system that feeds on greed, hatred and delusion.  Like many other Prophets throughout history they threatened the ruling order of bankers and preachers -- and were martyred. 

Although Dr. King focused on the evil of racism, his speech that late summer day in Washington DC was delivered to the throng that had assembled for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  That march challenged the economic exploitation millions of Americans because of the color of their skin.  The FBI claimed the event was inspired by Communists and lobbied to prevent it from happening.

Like Gandhi, King continued to march, to champion a non-violent response to a system that has always used violence.  Like Jesus of Nazareth, and a myriad other martyrs, they knew full well that they may be killed for challenging the ruling order.

Dr. King's assassination five years later occurred when he traveled to Memphis to support striking Afro-American sanitation workers as the leader of the National Poor People's campaign.  That campaign demanded an Economic Bill of Rights which included five planks:

1. "A meaningful job at a living wage"
2. "A secure and adequate income" for all those unable to find or do a job
3. "Access to land" for economic uses
4. "Access to capital" for poor people and minorities to promote their own businesses
5. Ability for ordinary people to "play a truly significant role" in the government

When's the last time you saw that highlighted in the mass media coverage on Martin Luther King Day? 

A Time to Break Silence

As Trump's legion of misanthrops, materialists and military men prepare to board, loot, and scuttle our beleaguered ship of state, it's a time to break silence.  Dr. King's did so dramatically on April 4, 1967.  On that day, Dr. King proclaimed, "these too are our brothers," and came out against the US involvement in the Vietnam War with a passion and an eloquence that many believe caused his assassination exactly one year later.

The corporate media today chooses to ignore this speech and remain silent.  I hope you don't.  Please listen and pass this along.  Then join some folks and speak out -- with love in your heart!

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!

Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thanks -- and No Thanks
Some Personal Reflections on Thanksgiving Day
"Oh, Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me, I am small and weak,  I need your strength and wisdom." -- from a prayer
by Lakota Chief Yellow Lark, 1887
(Entire Prayer)

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." 
-- Ancient Native American Proverb

The three day feast that brought together 90 Wampanoags and the 50 surviving Pilgrims to a feast at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 has become part of the Mythology of American Democracy.  

Unfortunately, this idyllic tale doesn't portray the stark reality of the Holocaust that ensued as European colonists descended on this continent bringing with them a harshly judgmental Christianity and the European concepts  of Private Property and Capitalism.

Although the set of Democratic Ideals set forth in the Preamble to the US Constitution reflect humanity's universal quest for a just society, "our forefathers" also brought forth on this continent disease, death, domination, and the destruction of a Way of Life that understood and honored humanity's relationship to Mother Earth, to the Great Spirit and to the Circle of All Life.   The Indigenous People's practiced a more advanced Spirituality, an Ethos of connection and sustainability. Our forefathers brought with them, instead, the Unbridled Greed buried in the belly of Capitalism, and the myopic worldview of fundamentalist Christianity with its mindset that reinforces our separation from one another, from the natural world, and from our spiritual connection to all that is.  Through force of arms (including germ warfare and the power of "law"), the bad guys won.

Unfortunately for Mother Earth and her myriad beings, they still are.

My Humble Take on the Real Deal

I believe that the movement for peace, economic democracy and social justice is a Spiritual Quest. No mean feat, what is called for is a True Revolution of the Heart and Mind--and it starts with each of us.

This revolution has to be Peaceful. The Hippies (and Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, et al) had it right. It really is all about Peace and Love. Besides being a total drag, violence just doesn't work. It keeps our wheels spinning in fear, anger and pain. Who needs that?

Besides some hard work, I think the Revolution also calls for dancing, plenty of laughter, and some sitting around just doing nothing. (Some folks call it meditation.)

As Stephen Gaskin, proclaimed years ago:

"We're out to raise Hell--in the Bodhisattvic* sense."

Doesn't that sound like some serious fun?

(*The Bodhisattva Vow is a set of commitments made in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It basically says I vow to get my act together and figure it out well enough to really help out--and I ain't gonna stop until everybody is covered.

I've found that doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order. It's best to try to help out even before you have it all together! Like right now.)

-----Brother Lefty Smith, Founding S.O.B*