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On Difference and Dharma

Note: The following is from a 1999 essay by Norman Fischer titled “On Difference and Dharma”

In our city streets there are many homeless people, among them many homeless youth. Of these young people, the overwhelming majority are gay, because when their parents discover they are gay they either are thrown out of their homes or feel so alienated in them they leave. We all know about the murder last fall in Wyoming of a gay man whose crime was apparently that he was a gay man. A protestant clergyman and his organization regularly picket the funerals of gay people who have died of AIDS, carrying signs and chanting slogans that demenan the deceased as evildoers. Such a protest took place at Matthew Shepard’s funeral in Wyoming.

This is the world we live in. When we meditate, we have to breathe it in with each inhalation, and accept that this is how it is. And when we breathe out we have to breathe out relief and hope. Zazen (Zen meditation) is not an escape or a denial of the world we live in. It is a profound love and acceptance of it, and the cultivation of the mind that wants to heal it and is, ultimately, capable of healing it.

Norman Fischer
from When You Greet Me I Bow

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