Occupy This Very Moment

The author at Occupy LA, October 15, 2011. Image by Sarit Photography.

Last weekend, I participated in the Global Day of Action for Occupy Wall Street by being present at Occupy Los Angeles and marching to City Hall. I also spent a good deal of time doing “protest chaplaincy” of a sort: because I was wearing my vestments, many people approached me for conversation, pastoral care, and even prayer. I tried to be proactive and seek out others to talk to as well. I also took some time to enjoy myself as well by partaking in some “Buddhist fellowship” with one of my UWest students, Joseph Rogers of Against the Stream, and his lovely family (including his brilliantly talented wife Sarit).

In addition — and much to my amazement — I ended up being quoted and written about in CNN.com’s feature on the Global Day of Action, which you can read here.

I also wrote a dharma talk for the occasion and recorded it at home. It is posted below. (I had meant to record the talk from the event itself…but I had my hands full being a Buddhist chaplain, and that seemed much more important.)

(L-R) The author with Joseph Rogers at Occupy LA, October 15, 2011. Image by Sarit Photography.

Several Buddhist teachers have commented on the Occupy movement, and there have been many good “round-up” pieces in the Buddhist blogosphere. (Just today, in fact, Tricycle did one.) I’m slowly catching up on all of them. I especially loved my e-pal Bodhipaksa’s piece for Wildmind. I wish I’d looked at it before I did mine — we both talked about the Kutadanta Sutta as it turns out. Though we both say different things about the text, I would have picked a different sutta had I seen Bodhipaksa’s piece before I wrote mine: my commentary on the Kutadanta Sutta only suffers in comparison to his. Make sure you read it.

Another piece that is also definitely a must-read is David Loy’s “Waking Up from the Nightmare: Buddhist Reflections on Occupy Wall Street” for our friends at Shambhala Sun Space. Do take a look at that one too.

All right, enough stalling… Here’s my talk:



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