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You Can Never Speak Up Too Often
For the Love of All Things 
You can never speak up too often for the love of all things. 
For every living thing or natural place on earth, there is someone who wants to kill or destroy it; 
Therefore, you can never speak up too often for the love of all things. 
These families of geese that I watch as I sit beside the pond, 
Two pairs, four adults, with their clutches of downy goslings who are carefully sheltered between the tall-necked, attendant goose and gander, 
There is a hunter who yearns to kill them, Who feels entitled to his killing of them, 
Who would be outraged if you implied he had no right to gun them down in season. 
This pond, set like an opal in the precious ring of earth, windsparkling among shaded forests of hemlock and pine, 
There is someone waiting to race his motorboat across it, knifing the soft skin of its silence, leaking oil into its pearl waters; develop it, build beaches, bring in crowds with boomboxes surging across macadamized parking lots; 
Therefore, you can never speak up too often for the love of all things. 
...
In the heart of every hunter, silence breaker, mass murderer, taker of life big or small 
Is static. 
Due to this static, they cannot hear the voices of all things babbling, crying, speaking from the heart; 
Due to this static, some people cannot hear the way that tall grass stems sing lullabies to their neighboring grass; or the ways that birds, anxious, fretful, diligent, chase after their new-flown fledglings with morsels of food, or with admonitions of danger. 
Those who are bedeviled by the static give it names that please them. 
They befriend and flatter the static; calling it god, praising it as a folkway or as an heirloom. 
They say the power of the static in their minds exempts them from the laws of love. 
The deer hunter feels enthroned above the animals—he has forgotten, lost touch with, cannot feel the way the doe turns to nuzzle along in haste the fawn, heart-beating, eager to spur it on towards safety. 
The terrorist, ethnic cleanser, nationalist, religionist, invoke the names and ideas of old books and imposing buildings. 
They are deaf to the inaudible, dumb to the unspoken common tongue. Listening to static and lost to love they kill the Jews of Europe, the Tutsis of East Africa, the intelligentsia of Cambodia, the elephants of the Congo, the orangutans of Borneo, the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic whales. Killing is indiscriminate and everywhere, the excuse changes, the reason changes, the alleged necessity changes. Therefore, you can never speak up too often for the love of all things. 
Here is a pond on a summer afternoon, its water iridescent green and blue beneath the long bright solar rays, 
And here is a young man and young woman dipping into the water, merging their bodies with the body of the pond. 
From long ago they ran from hunters; as deer they ran from men with painted faces and burning torches in the Pleistocene night; 
As rabbits they ran from dripping dogs; For generations, their ancestors were Jewish runners, homeless here and there across the landmass of Europe, chased by people with a dozen different pedigrees. 
As Africans they came in chains. As trees, they were cut down at their feet, and fell on their faces. 
...
For each and every presence, place, person, animal, plant, on this earth, there is someone who wants to kill or destroy them, 
And there is also a great and universal love inside them, a love and joy entwined, like a young man after a day’s work diving into a summer pond, 
Like water, green, blue, clear, murky, impenetrably old primal element of life, catching him, bathing him, whispering to him unbeknownst to him himself, the secret and universal words: 
You can never speak up too often for the love of all things.
 
Cover
The above is an excerpt from the poem You Can Never Speak Up Too Often For the Love of All Things by Vipassana Teacher Dr. R. Paul Fleischman. The work with the same title includes many poems of his hand, based on themes from the world of meditation, social and ethical values, the biological nature of things blended with poetic, reverential awareness of the natural world. Available in various free formats: softcover, PDF, and audiobook.
This newsletter features resources you might find inspiring in this time colored by the recent events around social injustice, racism, and police brutality.
 
Due to the length of this issue, it might be clipped (cut off) by some email providers (such as Gmail). In that case you will have to open the newsletter in the Internet browser via the link then provided (see screen shot), to read the issue in its entirety.
(We included inspiring verses from the Dhammapada and other texts at the bottom of the newsletter and you might not want to miss out on those). 
 
May all beings be safe, may all beings be happy, may all beings be liberated!
cover dhamma brothers
The late Jenny Phillips (1942-2018), author of Letters from the Dhamma Brothers, felt strongly about social injustice and racial issues. The royalties we pay on the sales of the above title are equally split between the Vipassana Prison Trust and the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). The EJI is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
Anattā
One could say the underlying cause of racism lies in the illusion of a separate self, in ignorance. We have just released an audiobook titled Meditating on No-Self: a Dhamma talk by Ayya Khema, read by Sophia Ojha.
No-self audiobook cover
Excerpt:
We affirm “self” again and again through identification. We identify with a certain name, an age, a sex, an ability, an occupation. “I am a lawyer, I am a doctor. I am an accountant, I am a student.” And we identify with the people we are attached to. “I am a husband, I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a daughter, I am a son.” Now, in the manner of speech, we have to use “self” in that way—but it isn’t only in speech. We really think that that “self” is who we are. We really believe it. 
Clinging is the greatest possessiveness and attachment we have. As long as we cling we cannot see reality. We cannot see reality because clinging is in the way. Clinging colours whatever we believe to be true. Now it is not possible to say “all right, I’ll stop clinging.” We can’t do that. The process of taking the “me” apart, of not believing any more that this is one whole, is a gradual one.
Helpful writings on the VRI Website
 
 
 
The Buddha Taught Nonviolence, Not Pacifism
by Dr. R. Paul Fleischman
Excerpts:
Where does responsibility intersect with complicity? If nonviolent witnesses object to military response to mass terrorism because it will lead to more deaths, do they also object to the police department remaining in existence, since the attempt to capture criminals also may lead to more deaths? 
Is “bystander error” violence or nonviolence? 
Should the Northern States have severed relations with the slave-holding South in nineteenth century America, thus avoiding the staggering half-million deaths of the Civil War but at the cost of perpetuating slavery? If some airline hostages attack their hijackers, causing their own deaths and those of all others on the airplane in the ensuing crash, should we condemn the violence of their action or admire their bravery in averting what would have been much greater carnage in the end? We cannot look to the Buddha to answer these questions. But his committed followers, relentless proponents of nonviolence, are beholden to avoid mass propaganda, politically correct intimidation, and sentimental simplifications. Nonviolence is not blind faith in fantasy solutions, but considered, thoughtful, effortful, sincere concern to pluck nonviolent contributions out from among the surging complexities of human social existence. 
We now see the Buddha’s teaching of nonviolence as a sieve, through which his students filter the particles of reality. To the extent that one is committed to the path, everything must be passed through this sieve, which demands of us the examination of our choices, our motives, our chosen roles, our actions, and our inactions.
For all practitioners of Dhamma however, the core questions are the same: “How can I, given my position, abilities, development, and flaws, best bring to bear nonviolence in my wishes, word, and deeds?” The ethics of a committed meditator spring from a whole life of the practice of self-examination. 
Lacking one fixed relationship to state or government, the lifelong Dhamma practitioner may move between cooperation, distance, witness and correction. Even with the vivid example of the Buddha’s life and his clear verbal discourses, the Dhamma is not easy to apprehend because it does not conform to thought systems or preconceptions. Though it emphasizes right action in society, it differs from issue-specific politics or social work. 
Though it emphasizes nonviolence, it differs from pacifism. It is a systematic teaching that places nonviolence at the cornerstone of its foundation, but it is unaligned with government, movements or religions. It is knowable only as a way of life embedded in meditative insight. It is often described as an absence rather than a presence—an absence of hate, ill will and delusion, an absence of viewpoints and beliefs. It is a clearing away of the self-absorption which is the root of suffering. The Buddha never claimed he could bring peace to the whole world. 
He saw that suffering beings are limitless in time and space. The Buddha speaks to us from his position within an endless universe in which our current struggles for peace are not triumphal but eternal. 
Dhamma is a long path, a footpath, culminated by only the rare few, and not a fantasy exit from the exigencies of the human condition. There are no global solutions even hinted at anywhere in the Buddha’s dispensation of Dhamma. His followers practice nonviolence because it anchors them in alertness and compassion, expresses and reinforces their own mental purification, builds identification with other beings— human, animal, even seeds; and because it is their most cherished realization: mind matters most. Cultivation of love, peace and harmony is always the only irrefutable doctrineless meaning that people can experience.
 
The Buddha Taught Nonviolence, Not Pacifism is available in various formats, of which the PDF is offered for free; the softcover can be ordered at no cost or with optional donation.
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The Buddha's Teachings on
Social & Communal Harmony
Excerpt 1:
2. UNDERSTANDING THE UNWHOLESOME AND THE WHOLESOME
[The Venerable Sāriputta said:] “When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome and the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome and the root of the wholesome, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
“And what, friends, is the unwholesome, what is the root of the unwholesome, what is the wholesome, what is the root of the wholesome? The destruction of life is unwholesome; taking what is not given is unwholesome; sexual misconduct is unwholesome; false speech is unwholesome; divisive speech is unwholesome; harsh speech is unwholesome; idle chatter is unwholesome; covetousness is unwholesome; ill will is unwholesome; wrong view is unwholesome. This is called the unwholesome. And what is the root of the unwholesome? Greed is a root of the unwholesome; hatred is a root of the unwholesome; delusion is a root of the unwholesome. This is called the root of the unwholesome.
Social & Communal Harmony cover
Scholar-monk Bhikku Bodhi collected and translated the Buddha's teachings on conflict resolution, interpersonal and social problem-solving, and the forging of harmonious relationships.
In times of social conflict, intolerance, and war, the Buddha's approach to creating and sustaining peace takes on a new and urgent significance. The chapters deal with such topics as the quelling of anger, good friendship, intentional communities, the settlement of disputes, and the establishing of an equitable society.
Excerpt 2:
4. BEINGS FARE ACCORDING TO THEIR KAMMA
[The Buddha is speaking to a brahmin:] “When, brahmin, my mind was thus concentrated, purified, cleansed, unblemished, rid of defilement, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understood how beings fare in accordance with their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct by body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook action based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct by body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook action based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understood how beings fare in accordance with their kamma. This was the second clear knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night.
Dhammapada
I, 5
Na hi verena verāni
sammantīdha kudācanaṃ
averena ca sammanti
esa dhammo sanantano.
 
Hatred is, indeed, never 
appeased by hatred in this world. 
It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an Ancient Law.

IX, 117
Pāpañce puriso kayirā,
na naṃ kayirā punappunaṃ.
Na tamhi chandaṃ kayirātha,
dukkho pāpassa uccayo.
 
If a man commits evil let him 
not repeat it again and again; 
let him not delight in it,  for the accumulation of sin brings suffering.
 
X, 133 & 134
Māvoca pharusaṃ kañci, vuttā paṭivadeyyu taṃ. Dukkhā hi sārambhakathā, paṭidaṇḍā phuseyyu taṃ. Sace neresi attānaṃ, kaṃso upahato yathā. Esa pattosi nibbānaṃ, sārambho te na vijjati.
 
Do not speak harshly to anyone; those thus spoken to will retaliate in kind; discordant indeed will be the response, and soon retribution will overtake you. If you can make yourself as silent as a shattered bronze gong, then you have attained to the peace of nibbāna, for now there is no discord in you.
 
X, 136
Atha pāpāni kammāni,
karaṃ bālo na bujjhati.
Sehi kammehi dummedho,
aggidaḍḍhova tappati.
 
When a person ignorant (of the Dhamma) commits evil deeds, he does not realise their nature. The stupid man burns (suffers) through these deeds as if consumed by fire.
XVII, 221 
Kodhaṃ jahe vippajaheyya mānaṃ
saṃyojanaṃ1 sabbamatikkameyya
taṃ nāmarūpasmimasajja mānaṃ
akiñcanaṃ2 nānupatanti dukkha.
 
Give up anger, abandon conceit, overcome all fetters. Ills of life (dukkha) do not befall one who does not cling to mind and body and is free from moral defilements.

222 
Yo ve uppatitaṃ kodhaṃ
rathaṃ bhantaṃva vāraye
tamahaṃ sārathiṃ brūmi
rasmiggāho itaro jano.
 
He who restrains his rising anger as a skilful charioteer checks a speeding chariot — him I call a true charioteer; other charioteers only hold the reins.

223
Akkodhena jine kodhaṃ
asādhuṃ sādhunā jine
jine kadariyaṃ dānena
saccenāʼ likavādinaṃ.
 
Conquer the angry one by not getting angry (i.e., by loving-kindness); conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.
 
XX, 291
Paradukkhūpadhānena,
attano sukhamicchati
verasaṃsaggasaṃsaṭṭho,
verā so na parimuccati.

Entangled by the bonds of hate,
one who seeks one's own happiness
by inflicting pain on others,
is never delivered from hatred.
 
 
 
 
 
My mind is firm like a rock,
unattached to sensual things,
not shaking in the midst
of a world where all is shaking.
My mind has thus been well-developed,
so how can suffering come to me?
 
 
**
 
Pāli phrase from day 3 of a 10-day course:
 
The entire world is in flames,
the entire world is going up in smoke;
the entire world is burning,
the entire world is vibrating.
But that which does not vibrate or burn,
which is experienced by the noble ones,
where death has no entry—
in that my mind delights
 
Some more inspiration
 
 
There is no cause without an effect and no effect without a cause. The law of kamma is supreme and inevitable. What you have now is the result of what you have done in the past. Until we get rid of the forces of kamma which belong to us once and for all and enter the supreme nibbāna, there is bound to be some trouble or other here and there during the remainder of our existence, which we must put up with, with the strength of anicca.
Anicca will surely prevail upon them and you will keep yourself in good stead in spite of all these. Anicca is power. Make use of the power of anicca with diligence and there will be peace with you.
 
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Daily Words
Dadato puññaṃ pavaḍḍhati;
Saṃyamato veraṃ na cīyati;
Kusalo ca jahāti pāpakaṃ,
Rāgadosamohakkhayā sanibbuto.
Listen
Who gives, one's virtues shall increase;
Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;
Who so is skilled in virtue, evil shuns,
And by the rooting out of lust and hate
And all delusion, comes to be at peace.

Mettañca sabbalokasmi,
mānasaṃ bhāvaye aparimāṇaṃ:
Uddhaṃ adho ca tiriyañca,
asambādhaṃ averamasapattaṃ.
Listen
With good will for the entire cosmos,
cultivate a limitless heart:
Above, below, & all around,
unobstructed, without hostility or hate.
Anatthajanano doso,
doso cittappakopano;
bhayamantarato jātaṃ
taṃ jano nāvabujjhati.
Listen
Hate brings great misfortune,
hate churns up and harms the mind;
this fearful danger deep within
most people do not understand.

=====

Dosaggiṃ pana mettāya,
nibbāpenti naruttamā.
Mohaggiṃ pana paññāya
yāyaṃ nibbedhagāminī.
Listen
By love they will quench the fire of hate,
by wisdom the fire of delusion.
Those supreme ones extinguish delusion
with wisdom that breaks through to truth.
 
=====
Chandā dosā bhayā mohā,
Yo dhammaṃ ativattati,
Nihīyati yaso tassa
Kāḷapakkheva candimā.
Chandā dosā bhayā mohā,
Yo dhammaṃ nātivattati,
Āpūrati yaso tassa
Sukkapakkheva candimā.
Listen
Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance should transgress the Dhamma,
All one's glory fades away
Like the moon during the waning half.
Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance never transgresses the Dhamma,
All one's glory ever increases
Like the moon during the waxing half.
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