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“I don't subscribe to the sentimental belief that 'children are little Zen masters,’” says Contributing Editor Clark Strand, who wrote this issue’s “On Parenting” column, “but I will concede that they often speak the truth. In that respect they may be superior to the Buddhist teachers who tell us we can become enlightened by following a monastic-style meditation program, all the while trying to raise families and hold down a job.” Strand is a former Zen monk and founder of the Koans of the Bible Study Group in Woodstock, New York, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Trish Rohrer, whose article on pets and euthanasia appears here, writes, “We’ve become so used to the notion that when a pet is dying, you take it to the vet, have it put down, and then live in silent confusion about it for years afterwards. But why do we assume it’s okay to kill our pets when they’re dying? How often does someone euthanize an animal out of convenience, or because that person wants his or her own suffering to stop? Why would we think it’s compassionate to end life—especially the life of a being with no say in the matter—even at its most painful?”
Sandra Garson (“Food for Enlightenment”) remarks, “Eating is so basic, so taken for granted, that few of us are mindful of it. But as the Buddha acknowledged, without food there can be no precious human body. (What other vehicle is there to enlightenment?) It was thrilling to discover that Buddhism recognizes the importance of eating, and it’s a joy to share what I’ve begun to find out.” Garson, a freelance writer and editor, once studied the history of food at Radcliffe College.
Thomas Moore (“Zen Catholic”) grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family in Michigan. At thirteen he left home to enter a seminary, where he discovered his interest in musical composition and became a Servite, a member of the Catholic religious order founded in late medieval Italy. During the Vietnam War, he left the order to pursue studies in theology, religion, psychology, and the arts. Moore, a former professor of psychology, is the author of Care of the Soul, Original Self, and most recently, The Soul’s Religion. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife, son, and daughter.
“Despite the name Faith,” writes Faith Adiele (“A Green and Gold Place”). “I’ve always viewed myself as an unlikely candidate for spiritual aspirations. People can’t believe I ordained in the Thai Forest tradition. One, I’m not big on religion, tofu, or camping. Two, I’m admittedly soft. My family and friends would ask, 'How did Faith rise at 3:30 am and spend nineteen hours a day in meditative practice? She’s the one who’s always saying 7:30 comes but once: dinnertime.’” Adiele lives in Iowa City.
“I realized that I wasn’t afraid of other people’s violence, I was afraid of my own,” says Neta Golan in an interview with Tricycle (“Peace Warrior in the West Bank”). Golan, a thirty-year-old Israeli peace activist, lives with her Palestinian husband in Ramallah, in the West Bank. A practicing Buddhist and student of Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s, she recently cofounded the International Solidarity Movement, an organization committed to nonviolent resistance to Israel’s occupation of lands captured during the 1967 Arab/Israeli war. ▼