Jon shares some quotes in advance of Governor Jerry Brown’s Monday April 29 Luminaries visit. 

“Who am I?” is one of the iconic inquiry koans of Zen. Who is Jerry Brown? Jesuit novitiate. California Secretary of State, Attorney General, and four-term Governor. Zen aspirant, assistant to Mother Teresa. Mayor of Oakland. Rancher in the oak hills of California.

Jerry Brown is one of the most fascinating public servants of our era; he remains a passionate advocate for nuclear disarmament, environmental protections, and education reform. Jerry’s life has been one of both spiritual contemplation and political action, all in hopes of making the world better for others.

From recent interviews:

“Politics is a power struggle to get to the top of the heap. Calcutta and Mother Teresa are about working with those who are at the bottom of the heap. I came to see them as no different from myself, and their needs as important as my needs. And you’re there to serve them, and in doing that, you are attaining as great a state of being as one can.”

“Studying Zen in Japan with Koun Yamada and Enomiya LaSalle—both were extraordinary men. Ignatian meditation is about forming images. Zen is more severe; you simply sit on a cushion and breath in and out; I did that for ten hours a day while in retreat. Zen is a different kind of experience. It does not have a doctrine; it is not even part of Buddhism. Attention in meditation transcends any denomination.”

“Our number one challenge in the world today is the threat of nuclear war. There has not been enough political debate on this. What if the war in Ukraine would break into nuclear war? China andTaiwan, Iran, North Korea? We’ve gotta live on Planet Earth. A war with China is unthinkable. A balloon is not a problem.”

“Since the 1970s, I have been saying the major factor in reversing global warming is to stop using oil, promote electric or hydrogen cars, build efficient houses, and change shipping … it is about challenging the human race to transform, to ask them to do what has never been done before.”

“For me, religious experience is cultivating an “ecology of mind” by watching nature, animals, watching dreams. Last year, on our ranch in Colusa, we picked over a ton of olives. Just taking the fruit from the tree, being on the land, off the electric grid, no cell coverage, no television. Just watching the moon coming up, wax and wane, being aware of what went before, gives a sense of what is coming after. It somehow feels good; it gives me hope. I am really enthusiastic; I love each day when I get up.  And at night, I walk my dogs and look at the stars.”

—Governor Jerry Brown