Jan 2014 Inspiration for learning in the new year: over the holidays I saw a relative who has been deaf all his life who just got a cochlear implant, which means he can hear sounds for the first time in 50 years. Amazing. However, this means a lot of work in learning to distinguish and identify which sounds signify what (running water, crossing signal, bird sounds, etc). I am wishing him well in his project, and hope this inspires you in developing your own continued perception of the way things are through your meditation practice and life, as it does for me. Happy New Year!
Dec 2013 Nelson Mandela has passed away, a great leader in South Africa and the world, who spent 27 years in prison. Mandela was oriented towards meditation and self-reflection. Of his time in prison, he said:
“You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings. In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education …. but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life “
Aug 2013 I was teaching a retreat this year where someone asked me at the end whether I had any transcripts of dharma talks available online. I said no, but there are plenty of recordings on this website, dharmaseed.org and audiodharma.org. She told me that she could not access them because she is deaf, which made me realize that she had been lipreading the entire retreat in the front row! This summer, another person told me (completely independent of this event) that she wanted to transcribe some of my dharma talks, so started to do so. I will post them on on this website very soon. Thanks to both of you for bringing my attention to this and for doing the work to make the teachings accessible to all.
In other news, there is a great deaf-owned and operated pizzeria in San Francisco, Mozzeria, on 16th St btwn Dolores and Guerrero St. for those of you in town. It’s a good experience for hearing people to enter a different world and see what that is like. And the pizza is good :).