2022 Thirty Days of Love – Days 10 – 12

Thirty Days of Love – Day 10

The U.S. Supreme court will be hearing Affirmative Action cases regarding admissions policies of Harvard University and University of North Carolina. These (and other) universities currently consider race when admitting students to their universities.

Are affirmative action statutes laws that serve the interests of a particular group of people or are they laws that establish justice?

My mother-in-law, an African-American woman,  mother of three daughters, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Univ of Indiana. (As an elementary educator in Gary, Indiana, she once had Michael Jackson as a pupil.)   She later earned a PhD in education at the University of Memphis. She then taught in the education department at the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1980s she changed careers and began an executive career in the banking industry, rising through the ranks and eventually became a VP and Regional Manager of large bank in Pittsburgh. She then became the first female President of a minority-managed bank in Pennsylvania. She again changed careers becoming an executive at the Duquesne Light Company where she ultimately became their General Manager of Public Affairs. She served on the boards of the biggest, most impactful, organizations in Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Hospitals, Port Authority Transit, Community Development Corporations.

She didn’t suffer fools lightly. In her presence, you had to be on your game.

Some critics might say, “Yes…but she likely went to the front of the line due to “unfair” policies like Affirmative Action.” She most likely did benefit from such policies…yet such critics don’t seem to understand that Affirmative Action was necessary for her to get the positions she would have gotten had she been white.

This is establishing justice!


Thirty Days of Love – Day 11

“I’ve come to destroy your mind (Shunryu Suzuki, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, p144).”

In Joseph Heller’s World War II novel “Catch-22,” pilots who were crazy did not have to fly bombing missions, and anyone would be crazy to fly them, but if you said that you were crazy, and therefore should be exempt from flying them, it was proof that you weren’t crazy and therefore had to fly them.

Yes, that is some catch that Catch-22!

Understanding Buddha nature works the same way.

Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki says, “if you want to understand Buddha nature, you cannot understand it. When you try to give up trying to understand it, true understanding is always there (125).”

I need to destroy my mind to find the understanding that is always there. I need to work on that. Or maybe, it might be better that I not work on that…and just sit zazen (sitting meditation) instead.


Thirty Days of Love – Day 12

All religions engage in symbols, icons, rituals, liturgies, worship, etc., to some extent. These practices, by definition, are essentially what makes religions religions. But why? Why do we do this? Why do we engage in religious practices?

I believe the “keys to the kingdom,” however you might define that, are only to be found within oneself; and that if you’re looking for salvation, heaven, truth, meaning, God “out there” through religious practices, whatever they are, you’re not going to find it.

Those things are not “out there” but “in here”….inside oneself.

Take “freedom” as an example. We typically think of freedom in such superficial terms (e.g. the ability to act, to do this or that, go here or there, etc.). This includes the saying, “We can’t be free until everyone is free”.  I’m not saying that such freedom is not important. I am saying that there is a deeper freedom that can only be found within oneself, one that can’t be taken by any person, government or despot.

I believe that the purpose of religion is to help people find salvation, meaning, freedom, etc. WITHIN ONESELF and that if your religion isn’t helping you do that, you may need to reorient yourself.