Hold It All

With Gratitude for Amy Schimdt

I am happy to be able to introduce friends to Dipa Ma in our “Facing the Future” class beginning next week:

Because Dipa Ma was able literally to see through the stories of the mind, she did not acknowledge personal dramas of any kind. She wanted her students to live from a deeper truth than their interpretations of, and identification with, the external events of their lives.

One night a student showed up who began asking Dipa Ma a lot of questions. He was quite challenging and confrontational and coming from an abstract intellectual place and trying to get her to argue. At one point she stopped and said in a very calm voice, “Why have you come here? What is your intention?” The sincerity of her question immediately silenced him.

Her heart, like the door to her apartment, was always open.

Dipa Ma and I were on an airplane coming to the States from India. It was very, very turbulent, and at one point the plane hit an air pocket and dropped. Drinks and other objects flew up to the ceiling as the plane dropped downward before hitting stable air again. I kind of screamed. Dipa Ma was sitting across the aisle from me and she reached out and took my hand and she just held it. Then she whispered, “The daughters of the Buddha are fearless.”

–from Amy Schmidt’s essential book, Dipa Ma: The Life and Teachings of a Buddhist Master

Life Is with People

It’s not true that I ask everyone I talk with to do a Share the Wealth. But on Thursday, I did ask Bob Suberi to talk about his time in Venezuela, and just the other minute out front on Chouteau I invited Justin Lorenz to talk about his weeks in Japan. And recently at Maryville I asked Anh to talk about Vietnamese culture, and Toju to talk about Nigeria, and Shahad to share about the Arab Conference at Harvard…

Q & A in 1952

A meeting held a long time ago, put together by the Mattachine Society, had the distinction of being among the first times homosexual literature was publicly and sympathetically discussed. Held in 1952 or 1953, the meeting focused on the topic, “What is the greatest problem facing the homosexual novelist at this time?”

In 1952 they had a problem finding homosexual novelists who would indeed admit that they were gay. Sanford Friedman was one of the writers who agreed to appear. Another of the volunteers was Paul Goodman.

The meeting began, and the moderator posed the question, “What do you feel is the biggest problem facing the homosexual writer today?” He turned to Goodman. “Mr. Goodman, what do you have to say?”

Goodman answered, “I believe the biggest problem facing the homosexual novelist today is the hydrogen bomb.”

–Samuel R. Delaney, “Panel: Politics of Identity,” in Anne Waldman and Lisa Birman, Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action

Entry: Noam Chomsky

Interesting to find an entry for Noam Chomsky in The Newish Jewish Encyclopedia. The brief mention  includes,  “He rose to even greater prominence for his lifelong pursuit of radical leftist ideas, some mainstream (he opposed the war in Vietnam and is a critic of Israeli policies)…”

Mainstream views on the Vietnam War were marked by the debate between the hawks and the doves. The position that opposed the war on principled grounds (U.S. aggression is wrong, Chomsky’s position) was not part of the debate among “respectable intellectuals.” Hence, not mainstream.

Further, Chomsky being a critic of Israel’s policies (a “radical leftist idea”?) and in the mainstream (?) makes me wonder exactly how many New York Times op-eds on Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians he got published from the 1970s to the 2000s.

I’d guess three, at most.