Long before we were dharma sisters, Red Sara and I spun through each others’ orbits. Coinciding at Vancouver art happenings, celebrations and demonstrations, we were two red-headed shit disturbers, hell bent for saddle leather. For years, we circled the bike activist world of Vancouver like twin suns. But it wasn’t until I returned from Upaya in 2011, a newly-minted zennie, that we deeply connected. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Politics & Activism’ Category
Bountiful is a ‘breakaway Mormon’ community near Creston, B.C. It has been an object of controversy and fascination for many years due to the tolerated practice of ‘polygamy’ under its leader, Winston Blackmore. The whole thing has me totally stumped.
First, to get this perfectly clear: there is more going on at Bountiful than simply ‘polygamy’, and it’s not good. There are allegations of kidnapping, of smuggling yound women over the border as child brides, and of forced marriages. (more…)
The starfish are dying, right here on pristine Cortes Island. They shrivel and wither, their arms fall off, and then they are dead. They do not leave behind pretty exoskeletons to pick up on the beach and take home as vacation souvenirs. They collapse into bleached and rotting blobs, and then the surf comes and washes them away. There is no dignity in their death. (more…)
Hello dear Bicycle Buddhistas – apologies for my sparseness in posting over the past few months. Simply being at Upaya, plus preparing for jukai, has been mopping up all my “free” time. I vow to get back to semi-regular blogging soon. But for the moment, here’s a piece i wrote for a nifty project called Global Chorus. Enjoy! And comment, if you will. Please and thank you for your patience. -Carmen
I have had it with people shit-talking my species.
Listen up: humans are no more greedy or evil than any other critter. Just like dogs or whales or paramecia or tomato plants, we just want to be warm, well-fed, and well-laid. In a word, we want to be ‘happy’. Most especially we want to get laid, because we are motivated to perpetuate our precious DNA above all. This is hard-wired survival instinct, and to this end, like all animals, we will tend to feed and breed until our population reaches carrying capacity—at which point, we execute a dramatic mass die-off, and the cycle begins again. (more…)
I’m getting ready to go to America. It is always a trip. I know the chocolate bars will be the same as in Canada, and the mall stores and the road signs. It looks the same but I am not fooled for long. If you don’t think the USA is a foreign nation you should go spend some time there yourself.
There are three things about America that always slap me upside the head.
The first thing that shocks me is the scope of the American class divide. Canada’s class divide is a wide valley, but America’s is a jagged faultline, a giant rumbling un-leapable chasm. The caste system in America is defined by education–those who get it, and those who don’t. (more…)
I went to the Kitchen Corner to buy a paring knife. I wandered up and down the aisles crammed with stationery and dish towels. I pondered all the paring knives on the wall, and as typical in such retail situations, got overwhelmed by the choices and freaked out by the copious packaging and decided to look for the knife in a thrift shop.
I was headed for the door when i suddenly remembered the other thing i had wanted to buy – candles! Once a year i need to find chanukah candles, which means a ride out to Oak and 41st to go to the Jewish deli that carries the real item in the special blue box guaranteed kosher by the orthodox rabbinical. But i was not feeling so motivated. (more…)
That really was her name. As if that wasn’t enough, Tammy was gangly and awkward and kind of funny looking. She had no friends. If you sat beside her you wouldn’t have any friends either. You knew that in that dangerous and delicately balanced pre-adolescent universe, to befriend Tammy Fudge would have constituted social suicide.
A boy put gum in Tammy’s hair and the teacher had to tease it out with an ice cube. I was haunted by the quiet shame in her face as the teacher worked through tammy’s hair with the ice cube and the comb. (more…)
Looking over my shoulder at the milestones on my path, one thing stands as constant: nothing is so sweet, so fun and so fruitful as working in creative partnership. And so at last, the Bicycle Buddha is ready to hit to the road, in tandem! With my co-bicyclista and dharma sista, Red Sara.
This Canada Day holiday Monday, Red and I will lead a ride to discover some of the Buddha’s East Van hangouts. It’s a tasty sampler plate of buddhist flavours, from ancient Asian to contemporary DIY, including Yanviriya Thai Temple, the Tilopa Centre, (more…)