Filed in Social Justice

She's Got the Beat

Cheri Maples gives new meaning to the words “peace officer.”Joan Duncan Oliver

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Cheri Maples meditating in TricycleMaples loved her first retreat—the silence, the atmosphere of tolerance. “Thay [Thich Nhat Hanh’s nickname] kept changing pronouns from masculine to feminine, and when someone in a Q. & A. session asked him about same-sex relationships, he said the gender of the participants didn’t matter; what made a difference was the quality of the loving. I thought, ‘Man, I’m home!’”

Initially, Maples had no plans to take the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the Order of Interbeing’s rendering of the five precepts. She confided to Sister Chan Khong, one of the monastics at the retreat, that she was a cop and couldn’t reconcile carrying a gun with the precept on nonviolence. The nun’s response was simple: “Who else would we want to have carry a gun but somebody who would do it mindfully?”

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