How strange that I usually don’t pay any attention to the pivotal moments of history, moments which typically include someone speaking out, thrusting new values into the lap of society, giving all they have to make life better.

I knew that the suffragettes worked hard in the early part of the twentieth century to secure the vote for women, and that they were successful.  How pale a view that is, lacking the spirit of the doers.  I saw the movie Suffragette this afternoon and I have been changed.

I virtually never think “I am a man” and consider the privileges that come with the label.  Men haven’t had to earn less than their female colleagues.  Women have.  By and large, men haven’t been sexually harassed in the workplace.  Women have.  Men have always been able to stroll into a polling station and vote.  Before 1920 or so, women were denied that opportunity.  It was deemed by many males that husbands, fathers and brothers could explain the realities of politics to women, who clearly didn’t have the smarts to figure it out themselves.  Oh my.

What sort of man would I have been during these troubling times?  I think one who didn’t see anyone as superior to anyone else, despite our different strengths.  Would I have been strong enough to resist the power of male culture?  I sure hope so.

The film had many incredible moments.  Here are four:

  1. The main character Maud is barred from her house (and her son) once her husband sees her identified as a suffragette in the newspaper.  Neighbour women just stare at her as she walks away.
  2. Sonny, Maud’s husband, gives up their son for adoption.  Maud has no rights as a parent.  As the adoptive couple are leaving the home with George, Maud looks him in the eye and basically says ” Your mother’s name is Maud Watts.  Find me when you’re older.”
  3. Maud goes on a hunger strike in prison.  We see her being held down, a tube inserted into her nose, and a milky fluid poured into a funnel.
  4. The suffragette played by Helena Bonham Carter has developed heart problems after years of protesting.  As the women organize to disrupt a horse race attended by the king of England, her husband locks her in a room, fearing that she will die during the event.

I need to see the courage of people who lived long ago
I need to see the courage of people who live today
I need to act courageously

Doesn’t Matter What You Do

Feel the air around you.  Notice that the air places no pressure or force on you.  It wants nothing from you and allows you total freedom here and now.  It simply surrounds, envelops, and holds you timelessly within itself.  Now substitute awareness for the air and allow the feeling of being unconditionally held to replace the sensation of air.  This very roughly approximates unconditional love.

Can I be that type of person, asking nothing from my fellows?


You don’t have to smile at me

You don’t have to say kind things

You don’t have to laugh at my silliness

You don’t have to like my e-mails

You don’t have to read my e-mails

You didn’t have to come to Jody’s Celebration of Life

You don’t have to spend any time with me

You don’t have to think that Buddhism is okay

You don’t have to like folk music

You don’t have to have coffee with me

You don’t have to walk beside me down the road

You don’t have to think that The Razor’s Edge is a cool movie

You don’t have to ask me for a copy of the book I’m writing about Jodiette

You don’t have to think I look good in a Speedo

You don’t have to let me into your lane

You don’t have to help me when I fall

You don’t have to come over when I’m in great physical pain

You don’t have to give me a senior discount

You don’t have to stay alive on this planet

You don’t have to hold my hand

You don’t have to visit me

You don’t have to like getting high on mountains

You don’t have to say another thing to me for the rest of your life

You don’t have to love me

You don’t even have to like me


I’ll love you anyway

The Bodhisattva

Bodhisattva: a being (sattva) committed to liberation (bodhi)

So simple.  And yet not at all simple to do


The Bodhisattva Vows

Suffering beings are numberless.  I vow to liberate them all
Attachment is inexhaustible.  I vow to release it all
The gates to truth are numberless.  I vow to master them all
The way of awakening is supreme.  I vow to realize it fully

How illogical to think that you could free every single human being from suffering.  And yet … ?   Then how about being attached to nothing and no one, letting them all come into your life and later leave?  Plus staying open to all the sources of wisdom that are embraced across the world, rather than accepting only one


Each bodhisattva has delayed her or his departure from the world of samsara until beings everywhere are free of suffering

Samsara means a circular, repetitive existence on this planet, being reborn lifetime after lifetime, making mistakes and suffering each time, learning oh so slowly what we need to.  Am I willing to come back again and again to assist others, rather than accepting a freedom that is well earned?


In simple acts of kindness and gestures of cheerfulness, bodhisattvas are functioning everywhere, not as special saintly beings, but in helpful ways we may barely recognize

That woman smiling at you
That man letting you take the parking space
That child doing their best to bake you a cake


Bodhisattvas usually are unknown and anonymous rather than celebrities, and function humbly and invisibly all around us, expressing kindness and generosity in simple, quiet gestures

If they’re all around us, I wonder how many of them I see every day


Bodhisattvas are extraordinary wondrous beings, bestowing blessings on all wretched, confused, petty creatures.  Bodhisattvas are living in your neighborhood, waiting to say “Good morning” to you

I’m going to see every person who says “Good morning” to me as a bodhisattva.  Perhaps they are.  Perhaps they aren’t.  It doesn’t matter