Thursday, November 17, 2016


Wednesday nights at the Zendo I meditate in community: twenty minutes of sitting, then walking-first slowly-then at an energetic pace, and another twenty minutes of sitting.  Each stage is punctuated by striking the ceramic bowl followed by group chanting of
the Four Vows three times:

Sentient beings are numberless;
I vow to save them.
Delusions are inexhaustible;
I vow to put an end to them.
The Dharmas are boundless;
I vow to master them.
The Buddha Way is unattainable;
I vow to attain it.
(Little Orchids)

 When someone from the community dies
a photograph is placed on the Altar
"Jay Kalio, who died September 30 at age 61 in New York, was an activist’s activist on the front lines of the grassroots LGBT movement and other social justice causes for more than 40 years."  Sweet was what he was when I first met him while volunteer-gardening on the roof of the old Gay Men's Health Center, and sweet was what he was when I encountered him recently at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care a short time before he died. Jay campaigned passionately for medical aid-in-dying legislation in his home state of New York. Racing against the clock and his illness, he fought valiantly to be able to end his life legally and on his own terms if his suffering became unbearable. He recorded this video describing what he hoped to avoid.

Compassion and Choices

More about Jay'a life of service to community 

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