“Stop the War”

~ A Pacific Zen Miscellaneous Koan

Recently, in speaking with a friend about our respective upcoming travels, he said he would take the koan “Stop the War” down with him to the jungles of South America, where he conducted several weeks of research or primates. He then asked me, “What koan are you taking?” I responded I was taking all of them, but really my koan became the simple, and kind of unexpected question, “What is my koan?” I realized, just this week, what my koan is: Stop the War. For me, Stop the War is about separation. Separation is delusion.

As a blogger, I usually don’t try to make easy points by writing about our idiot politicians. They have been around a long time, and my guess is they will continue to haunt humanity until the Anthropocene era comes to a close. I remember that my teacher Yamada Koun, in Kamakura, who also generally stayed away from political discussion when giving a teisho, mentioned how he really wished he could get Ronald Reagan and Leonid Brezhnev to sit together in his San Un Zendo, to bring about true world peace. The American students in attendance kind of (respectfully) snickered..

I must say, however, that the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border, with the ensuing physical and emotional harm it visits upon the innocent, is just deeply wrong. It is not clear when, and if, the 2,300 children taken from their parents, in the interest of prosecuting the misdemeanor offense of an illegal border crossing, will be returned, despite the recent executive order staying the separations. In Buddhist terms, these forced separations are the perpetuation of suffering in the world. It is delusion.

Stop the War is not about politics. It is about grasping that the small Heart-Mind creates pain, darkness and wounds, while the big Heart-Mind creates well-being, light, and healing. We can learn to live more and more in the big Heart-Mind, both inside and out, no matter what the prevailing politics. But first we must not separate. We must stop the war.