Bernat Font, a contributor to the SBN website, will be interviewing Buddhist meditation teacher and Extinction Rebellion activist Yanai Postelnik in March. What questions would you like Bernat to pose to Yanai?
I’m not questioning the wonders of critical thinking, but the reactivity and lack of awareness with which we engage in mental and communicative patterns. We listen to find fault, we exaggerate the positions of others, and we look for that one example which does not work so we can disagree or invalidate. What if discussions were not about arguing, refuting and convincing?
In meditation, we cultivate an inner space of openness and acceptance free of judgement. But this space should not remain private: sooner or later we have to extend it, and before we try to cover the entire world with an enlightened society, let’s start with smaller circles.
Some time ago, Daniel, a fellow student from the Community Dharma Leadership Programme, told me he was planning a European tour for Lama Rod Owens and asked whether I’d be interested in finding a teaching arrangement for him in Barcelona. I hadn’t heard of him, so I googled him. It took me very little to say ‘Yes!’
Bernat Font brings the Pali canon to the present day with a “sutta” based on our struggles with the addictive qualities of social media.
A conversation between David Loy and Bernat Font – David Loy was born into a US Navy family and as a child travelled far and wide with his family. He ‘dropped out’ and in Hawaii started to practice zen Buddhism. His first teacher was Robert Aitken and later, he practiced with Yamada Roshi. From philosophy to zen is not such a big jump, reading D.T. Suzuki or Alan Watts, but the difficult thing he found was to practice, to sit.
Working as a nurse with terminally ill people, Sophie Boyer discovered meditation. After several long retreats, she became a Buddhist nun but disrobed a couple of years later, finding that disrobing came with more challenges than she expected. Born in France in 1972, Sophie is a student of Martine Batchelor.
I met Sonam Tsering at a performance of traditional Tibetan music and dance in Dharamsala. With tan skin and hair tied up in a knot at the top of his head, his samurai looks don’t give any clue to his story. He jokes constantly, exuding ease and directness while showing off a broad and shiny smile; but when a friend of his makes a reference to Buddhist philosophy, he startled me with a confident discourse that is not easy to find in the average Tibetan.
It’s hard to find a quiet cafe in McLeod Ganj, but we did. Likewise, it is difficult to find someone like Karma Yeshe Rabgye. It might not seem strange nowadays to hear a Western Buddhist say you don’t need to believe in rebirth to practice the dharma, that nirvana or enlightenment is not his goal, and that he practices for this life. It is, however, uncommon to hear such words from someone in the red robes of a Kagyu Tibetan monk.