This blog, Yours in the Dharma by Sandy Garson, is an effort to navigate life between the fast track and the breakdown lane, on the Buddhist path. It tries to use a heritage of precious, ancient teachings to steer clear of today's pain and confusion to clear the path to what's truly happening.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Decking the Gall with Bows of Folly
Winter solstice marks the resurrection of light and warmth,
offering the promise of rebirth any minute. So, it seems, while we’re stuck in what's called holiday time waiting around for that, we’ve all busied ourselves promoting what we happen to be hoping for, as
animatedly as the lively, loopy, nonstop schemers in American Hustle.
Hope is, of course, the revealing of desire. It's like a shopping
order that's reached the shipping options stage. We know what we want and now have to figure out how to get it. Our hopes appear as New Year’s resolutions and predictions and
bets, wishes, requests and expectations, like for a bonus. Those craving some sort of transcendent salvation put their hopes anew in the old baby Jesus, a so called Messiah mythically
born at this worst of times. Even
kids get into the act, telling Santa what they want.
Hand it to Santa for satisfaction guaranteed. He
actually delivers. Mr. Claus may be old fashioned but he's the prototype consumer delivery drone flying through the sky dropping
stuff down chimneys left and right: legos, iPads, Elmo, two front teeth. Amazon is just a wannabe.
Maybe they will fill a gap because we grown-ups aren't getting the same premium hope shipping service kids have. A few days ago, at
the exact moment of Solstice, I was in a house of worship listening to
congregants ask their God to bring them peace, show them mercy, and protect them from obstacles.I could be wrong,
but I do think these folks have been placing this order for almost 2,000 years
now, and it never comes-- even in this heyday of instant gratification. Perhaps
there is no longer a maker or its delivery service was paralyzed by weather and
demand like the UPS fleet on Dec 24.
Something is definitely amiss. For the last 92 years, every Miss
America contestant has valiantly declared what she really hopes for in her
heart of hearts is not Prince Charming, thinner thighs or a million dollars, but world peace. Have you seen any? For way longer, maybe since the beginning of human
time, every politician solemnly swears he wants a chicken in every pot or jobs
in every household. Got any? These guys also swear what they really truly hope for is not a lifetime on the public dole, but
truth and justice for all—change you can believe in. Ho ho ho. Everybody knows
the only guy who delivers truth and justice for all is Superman. That phone booth costume change you can believe in.
Santa Claus, Superman…reality doesn't seem to deliver like
these fictitious guys. Maybe the call center has been outsourced to Mars where nobody speaks our languages, because we keep ordering stuff like tolerance and equality, purpose and decency, but none of it ever arrives the way pizza does from Domino's. Just look at
the unrelenting hopelessness in the headlines: arrogant Obama screws up without
apology, the two main tribes of South Sudan are massacring each other (“It’s
politics between two people making thousands of people die,”), imperious Chris
Christie bollixes up the George Washington Bridge as he bullies everybody in
his way, Tibetans are burning themselves to death because the genocidal Chinese
won’t let them live as Tibetans; the Sunnis and the Shiites are bumping each
other off faster than Sicilian mafia gangs; Germany is suffocating Greece and
Spain; Syria’s Assad is gassing its citizens to death; Thai peasants are
violently protesting the resentment of the Thai urban class; the Turkish prime
minister fires the prosecutor investigating bribes he took; Boeing announces
record billions in profit and executive pay while threatening to move from
Seattle if minimum wage for its workers rises, Hillel Houses won’t let their
Jewish students speak to Palestinians, guys make revenge porn a fetish.
It’s just as yecch in the much-vaunted private sector.
These last few weeks, so many people have hoped I could help or confided their
secret hope, I feel like some freaky 911 Santa Claus. My Los Angeles friend
phoned on his birthday, crying because his blue-eyed, blond marriage partner
picked that day of days to totally terminate the relationship. All my friend wanted for
his birthday was his lover back and what he got was a huge, fat Cancelled stamp on that hope. An hour later I got
an email from my heart son hoping I would come solve the problem of his Mom who
was grinding her teeth, short breathing and showing other signs of hidden
anxiety. I drove the 60 miles and tried to talk eye to eye to a 58-year-old
longtime widow whose culture forbids her from ever remarrying, a woman who has
no education, little ability to speak English, and, I think she
thinks, no reason to get up in the morning, no reason to exist. Her sons are
married and working, ditto their wives. She wants grandchildren. She wants to
take care of them day and night. She hopes to get purpose back that way, but neither her
sons nor their wives are up for that. So while she hopes for meaning to life, her teeth grind and her
chest heaves in the vacuum.
I got home to a text message from a young friend who needed
to be rescued from her visiting mother in law, a widow who sits
like a princess never lifting a finger to help with the two babies, the
housework or cooking even though my young friend works a fulltime job and takes
care not only of the two babies but her own diabetic father. I took her and her
3-year-old with me to the farmers’ market and playground and fussed over them.
When I got home, I found an email from my French “sister” pushing me to tell
her whether or not I was going to help her escape from her childishly
narcissistic husband by taking her to Nepal this spring. Otherwise she had no
hope for relief.
I couldn’t answer because my upstairs neighbor was in
meltdown. There were complications for her and the baby born four days ago so
she had to keep going back to the hospital. The 3-year-old had come home from
school with pinkeye and somehow her husband found a ghastly stomach flu. “I’m
dealing with shit everywhere,” she cried. “And now the garage door doesn’t
work. Please can you fix it. I need something to be working.”My friend in Maine, the one whose
ex-husband died a few months back, needed something to be living, or so the
email said. “I didn’t tell you my sister died last week and our oldest cousin
was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was sorting this out when I got a call
that my old Peace Corps friend, the one I traveled with over the years, died of
a heart attack. What a sad, sad Christmas here.”
Trying to sound hopeful, I wrote to my friend that I thought
the universe was clearing out her closet, making space for something brand new
coming soon. I packed up, got on a plane and flew across the country to be at a
family event for my childhood friend who was now her family matriarch. I sat
next to one of our college classmates, a woman of the 1%, who I would like to
tell you has it all except she doesn’t, as she explained. It’s sometimes
maddening to be in the house with husband, children, grand children, pets, with
no space for herself. What she hopes to find, and soon, is inner peace. Perhaps
through yoga, perhaps through meditation she hopes to create that private
space. I mentioned a few books.
The next day I read in The
New York Times, the paper of record, psychiatrists say the most common patient
complaint of the moment is metastasizing anxiety. Foreboding is the stench rising from all
the glitter and glam. I’d diagnose that as fear the great hedge against panic,
wealth, will no longer be what the 1% hoped it would: power…the protection it
provides. It will be easy come, easy go a
la Bernard Madoff. What went up will fall down. I’d say that’s fear dreams will not come true, wishes be
fulfilled, hope ripen. I'd say: terminal cancer of the optimism nerve.
All in all, scene by scene, sounds like we’re a disaster movie in the making, the gilded age
morphing into a gilded cage. Here's the way Stephen Holden lyrically put it in The Times: “…serious films are reacting
to runaway capitalism and its fallout with suspicion, disgust and nihilistic
exuberance. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, they ask, whom can you
trust? … Everywhere there is widespread future shock. As technological
innovation accelerates faster than our ability to assimilate it, movies express
a creeping sense of powerlessness, the future determined not by humans but by
algorithms. As institutions and social structures dissolve, we are on our own,
fearful of being left behind in a stampede that must be heading somewhere. Or
Well, so much for all the fa la la this year. Many of us are either feeling like the
Coen Brothers’ bumbling failure, Llewyn Davis, or the Wolf of Wall Street decking his gall with vows of folly. We
are ass deep in hype about faster, finer, filtered have it your way coming at
you instant gratification, you above all, winner take all. Life as a selfie or instagram. We are all hoping to be
winners taking it all, but somehow in this moment of revealing our hopes, we appear to be feeling like losers.
Forty years ago Mick Jagger complained about getting no satisfaction, and where is it when we need it? We're so miserable we've since got ourselves a whole new billion dollar boom industry of life coaches telling us "Just be happy." Since that's what we truly hope for, fads and scams abound. We hope our hope order will to be delivered even though there does not seem to be any toll-free 888 number to call right now, right now in the next five minutes and we'll ship for free! You can't even pay for the inner peace that brings genuine happiness with a credit card, money order or bitcoin. You can't buy it like toys for tots. That could be the problem.
Apparently, despite his highly touted and sought after omniscience, the Buddha, when he warned about the hell realms we could wander into, forgot to mention American airports. They must have been in the side mirror blind spot on his vehicle to enlightenment. Or maybe the reason was American airports don't fall neatly into the hot hells or the cold ones he conscientiously described; they are a freak show that transgresses the firewall between hotly humiliated passengers and icily fiendish airlines. I bet if he decided to manifest now, the Buddha would recognize hell when he saw it and say: "If you want to be smack in the center of Samsara where all six hell realms intersect, get thee to an airport."
Having flown public for over 50 years, I can tell you flying--read that: coach-- used to be fun, actually user friendly. You didn't have to die wondering why that plane never showed up, or sit squeezed and belted wondering why the airline suddenly had to repair the plane while it was on the runway ready to take off. You didn't have to starve or subsist for six hours on melting ice cubes and a mini pack of low-grade nuts or spend eight hours with the seat in front of you pressing into your sternum while being stabbed in the side by overreaching elbows, trying to distract from suffering with the proffered dumbed down, dumpster entertainment that cost more than Netflix. What I mean is, you weren't packed into sardine can squalor deliberately created to encourage an hourly exercise routine for your credit card to keep your sanity in shape. In the good old days, when air travel was shiny new, polite and pretty-- when there were lots of start-ups, stewardesses served meals and snacks (note the plural), passed out newspapers and magazines, put out fruit and cookies, even gave away decks of cards. I remember passengers being treated decently and respected as customers, probably because passengers dressed respectfully and behaved decently to airline personnel. Nobody mistook the plane for their private jalopy and tried to stuff it with the kids, the strollers, the guitars, the canoe, the dogs, shopping bags and clothing trunks. Probably also because airlines cared more about customers than capital back then, they wanted us to like flying enough to make their start-up stay-up. The mantra wasn't, to paraphrase, "We hate to fly and it shows" or "We d double dare you to fly theunfriendliest skies in the cosmos." Since the pushers hooked us on flying, they don't have to care about shoving a fix at our addiction. The basic minimum of two wings and a motor, as low as they can go, is an offer we have yet to refuse. So airlines only treat people with decency in first class, or maybe international business--of course, in exchange for what amounts to some people's yearly salary. Classy is now a 1% class war spoil.
But to show these increasingly inhumane corporations the compassion the Supreme Court would probably decide is due to persons, I admit I also don't want anything to do with not so hot 250lb men in tank tops and spandex, hot to trot 23-year-olds in halters and cut-offs, overheated shrieking babies, arrogant businessmen heatedly driving deals on cell phones, bleary-eyed coughers, longhairs whose elephant sized backpacks butt everyone, bicycle parts or golf clubs andblasé packrats stuffing their Hummers into the overhead bin. Every time I step into the funhouse dystopia these characters from the six realms of Samsara degrade the claustrophobic airplane cabin into, I understand the airlines' cold shoulder, the frequent flyers fierce fight for upgrades, the huge surge in private or charter flying. I'd like to get away from it all too, thank you.
Well, fa la la, I think I have found a way. No, I still can't afford the expensive private plane escape or the price gouging for first class. No, I'm not imprisoning myself at home; sometimes I really must be somewhere I can only get to by plane in my one lifetime because I can't sprint at 1000 miles per hour. I can't even run a marathon. Sometimes I gotta do what I gotta do. As it happens, tomorrow for my childhood friend, I have to meet up with about the meanest screw-the-customers airline to fly cross-country. But, ho ho ho, I've got an app for that! Based on 26 years of driver ed learning to navigate Samsara, I've come up with my very own all new eightfold path to liberation from suffering. I call it Airplane Mode: ON.
The first step has to be right stillness. This means stay put and fly less, which means only when its absolutely necessary. This tactic provides realization of interdependent origination or how suffering unnecessarily arises from wanting to do something without thinking it totally through. It also decreases the sin of gluttony-- for punishment, to not go to all these newfangled destination weddings far from where anybody normal lives, gratuitously change scenery on weekends to combat boredom, and/or race friends to the extremes of exotica. Staying home is actually the new exotic; there's tons to discover and explore especially inside your own mind. Inward instead of Outward Bound. Besides, Skype lets anyone at home go almost anywhere in the world without security searches, frustrating fees and lost baggage.
Step two is right outfit. I took this from the Vajrayana instructions to imagine yourself as the deity and eventually you will be. Perhaps it's habit or maybe experience that compels me to dress with old-fashioned respect for a plane ride--even a long overnight haul. I mean no jeans with a tee, no sweats, no flipflops that belong to the beach, no dirty or torn anything, no athletic/yoga gear, nothing transparent or gaudy or minxish. My mantra is: Look like a lady and you will get treated like one. And hot sauce, you really do. This mantra make dreams come true. Standing in that humiliating security line (guilty until proved innocent) before my last two flights, I won the bonanza of being deemed benign enough to go through screening without taking off my shoes or anything out of my bag. Before I even got to the gate, I thought I'd flown through heaven.
Step three is right sacrifice. I think of this detachment practice as finally shedding pounds. Lighten my load, lighten my life. Packing is not winner take all. It's about what's left behind. En-lightenment is detachment. It's realizing the fashion police are essential emptiness, and letting go of attachment to every last item in the dresser and closet. It's about focus. With the algorithm of one outfit three times, four outfits plus the one on the body at flying time makes you good to go anywhere for two weeks with just a carry-on. This liberates from the suffering of changed gates, cancelled flights, plane switcheroos, dislocated shoulders, baggage fees, lost luggage and the need to use public transportation to or from the airport.
Step four: right vision. This is the step for a multitasking self-starter who can run with scissors. Dharma is all about living right now and not worrying about the future, but when going on a plane, I say you've just got to anticipate all the calamities the immediate future is about to introduce you to. Or to plagarize the Boy Scouts: be prepared. A small bag of munchies for endless delays without food, a shawl that doubles as a blanket or scrunches up into a pillow since the airlines don't provide these free anymore, a supply of water in event of delays or chintzy policy, an enthralling book that keeps you turning pages while all hell breaks loose around you. Most importantly, take the most direct route possible: never change planes. Use ground transport on either end to make up the difference: it will be faster and easier, sparing you the suffering of missing luggage and spending a decade wandering around O'Hare looking for a customer service rep. . Step five: right timing. Buddhists believe in spaciousness and here's the chance to understand it. Leaving at least an extra hour or two to get to airport check-in liberates from the suffering of missing the plane, losing luggage, getting stuck in unmovable lines, needing a toilet, finding parking, changing terminals, not getting coffee and generally stressing yourself out in panic because you can't stop to ask where the hell the gate is or they'll close the plane door. With spaciousness, you can sit down at a terminal restaurant and enjoy a leisurely meal to sustain you through a foodless flight, instead of grabbing ridiculously overpriced and potentially hazardous prepackaged stuff you'd never eat if you knew how it was prepared. Giving yourself spaciousness is generosity practice on two fronts. First it allows room for anything and everything unforeseen to occur and some snafu inevitably will. More importantly, you need to be as generous to yourself as you would be to the other kind of terminal patient also about to leave Earth's gravity.
Step six: right emptiness. Being at the forgetful stage of life when I actually flew with my iPhone on, I've been turning my mobile phone and iPad off before I leave the house. This definitely beats being escorted off the plane as a terrorist and gives the NSA time to go to the toilet. It also liberates from the suffering of teenage anxiety at separation from the tribe. Frankly, I'm old enough to know nobody's calling to offer me a billion dollars; nobody's emailing anything so urgent the world is going to come to an end before I get back down to Earth. Maybe by then they'll even be over it. And if they're not, I don't want their crisis as carry-on baggage. Only four outfits. Step seven: right concentration. Puzzle books: crosswords and Sudoku. I'm like the mother pacifying her kid's restlessness with engrossing books. Puzzle books totally hog my concentration, making me oblivious to the three ring circus I'm in. They let me look purposeful and intellectual, which is to say classy. They're Pilates for the mind, stretching it to accommodate what boggles. They don't have to be shut when the plane engine turns on and can be put away on a whim. Best of all, there's nothing that satisfies the soul more than methodically solving problems while surrounded by them. Step eight: right of way. This is the big kahuna. Going early, turning off the phone, opening the puzzle book, eating in the restaurant...they're all about giving up, and just giving in. Resistance devours all energy, and anyway resistance is just showing we don't like something. Airports aren't the place to pick and choose, to have it your way. Give up all hope, the Dharma teaches, and fear automatically dissolves, because fear elbows in when the object of hope doesn't get delivered like Domino's pizza. It's about expectation, getting what we want the universe to bring. So if we just plain let go of any expectation of, say, being the pilot steering the flying experience to our idiosyncratic liking, we won't feel any fear whatsoever when this doesn't happen. We can just go along for the ride.
Don't resist, don't insist. The airport is a hell of humiliation and depredation--our own public Guantanamo, yet shoulder shrugging "whatever" turns out to be a miracle cure--and to boot, a generic one without patent protection! You don't even need to sign up for Obamacare. Being the stillpoint of a churning world, as Trungpa Rinpoche once pointed out when looking down on Manhattan from a tower, is profoundly powerful and energizing. Giving meditation equipoise the right of way through the nuthouse airport really is liberation from suffering.
In fact flying the zenly skies has become such a blissful escape from my ordinarily erratic and struggling days, I'm thinking since life is a trip, and I seem to be flying through it, maybe I should just stay all the time in Airplane Mode: ON.
The couple upstairs came home last night around 6 glowing like Christmas lights as they carefully carried in their holiday gift, life. New baby James looked sweetly flawless. What didn't show was how perfectly polite he was. He had waited to come out and play until after his mother enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with her parents. She did not want to be in a hospital or in labor on turkey day, getting second class attention, and, James must've known she is used to getting what she wants. That's probably why he was also chivalrous enough to tarry a few extra days so he would be a Sagittarius instead of a Scorpio. Everybody upstairs is happy, except perhaps the 3-year-old whose limelight has just been stolen. My phone was ringing. It was a dear younger friend of mine who now lives in LA. Once gay marriage was legalized in California, he got a new toupee and staged an extravaganza wedding to the blond blue--eyed foreigner who'd been following him around for almost two years. That's what he wanted more than anything in the universe--not a blue-eyed blond, just someone special all for him. The glow from the achievement was megawatt, but it was quickly eroded by the rise of a glower. No matter how hard my friend tried, his partner's sudden unhappiness ripped like shears up the middle of the relationship and severed it. He moved out. Alone again, my friend poured out thousands upon thousands of dollars for couples therapy. What he discovered was how trapped the foreigner felt: he repeatedly complained he'd given up a good supervisory job, a condo and a country, as well as his family, to be married and stuck in El Lay. He was living my friend's life, not his own, and he resented this enough to quit and go live at the site of a personal assistant job he got. Except, finding servitude even worse, he had begun inching back, running away, inching back. I had to hang up in the midst of advising my friend that it was probably best to bravely confront this yo-yoing with a simple frank question: Is it better for you if I totally get out so you can have your life all to yourself? I wanted to tell him that if the guy said bye that would eventually turn out to be okay because the universe loves us so much, sometimes not getting what we want turns into the best happily ever after. But I had to go. My young friend from Spain was texting her imminent arrival to crash on my air mattress. She was back from El Lay where she'd schlepped her life to merge it with the man she thinks she loves, back to escape the lonely struggle of having sacrificed her hard-earned San Francisco familiarity-- friends, work, neighborhood-- to blend into this man's situation. Like the blond foreigner, this dark eyed, dark haired beauty was not happy. Building a relationship, a safe suspension bridge between two mountains of emotions and ideas, was aching, tact-breaking labor. She did love this fellow and was trying very hard, but would this sense of struggle end? Tomorrow morning she was going to a life coaching retreat. Before she was even gone, before I could ask her if she'd ever considered how much trouble her mother had suffered to build what looks like an ideal marriage with her father, before the sun was up, the ring of my mobile woke me. The call was from Europe, the special lama, now defrocked and working in a sushi joint because he fell in love and has a child. I'd been kind enough to sponsor his retreat a decade ago, so perhaps I could help now. Sponsor again. His younger brother had been in our guru's school, doing well in the 8th grade, when their father abruptly forced him back to the high Himalayan valley village they come from. "My father felt like he was going to die in the next year or two and he wanted to be certain the farm and the cows safely passed to one of his sons. My brother was 16 then. Now he is 18 with a wife and two children and no money up there for anything. Please, can you help him." (I did not end with ? because it was not a question.) O dear Buddha. The people in Nepal have less than nothing so they all think their exiles must have hit it rich in the West and they stick like ticks. The exiles, having not even enough funds to support themselves and no way to evade their families, turn in desperation to native Westerners sure our cultural flash is the sign we're all loaded like Brinks. I wanted to slide deep under the duvet to hide from this. But I'd just told my young, put-upon friend in LA to speak truth like a knife though butter, so I reckoned I should as well. I told my friend, this lama, I was having enough trouble these days sponsoring myself and paying my own bills. I told him years ago I'd somehow been tagged by one of his cohorts to become the official caretaker of a fatherless boy from the next valley when he became 16, and this kid came with an add-on, an inseparable friend from the same village who was already addressing emails to me as "mom." I had no idea how I could ever manage this. Was I not already committed to continually finding enough money to feed Rinpoche's growing army of monks, nuns and schoolchildren--nearly 2,000 mouths now?
I was starting to tell him about my vow to one of his close Dharma brothers to look after his niece who is now at college in Canada when I remembered the email that hit my screen just before baby James arrived. It came from a Sherpa student graduate of Rinpoche's school and a high school in middle America. Two months ago, her younger sister had sent a desperation email asking me to help find this young woman a cheap or free place to live so she could take the medical assistant program she'd been accepted for. "You are always so kind," she wrote, "i thought you could help." That made me feel very obliged to try and the dakinis kicked in good luck. I found a friend who had a friend who had an extra room once used by an estranged daughter. She offered it for free. So the Sherpa flew in from MIssouri, settled her stuff there, and thanked me for making her education possible. Yesterday's followup email said the woman's daughter re-appeared so the woman told her to take her stuff and go. But not to worry: she had a friend and that friend had a tiny apartment so she'd bought an air mattress to stay there. (All these tiny apartments and air mattresses color this oy story.) She'd be all right, she wrote. Her friend is a refugee from Rwanda. The Sherpa is passing time reading her book by a young Somali woman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose courage is inspiring her. How's that for an old fashioned life coach?
Thinking about a Sherpa put me in mind to suggest to my lama friend perhaps his brother could participate in the trekking boom. Sadly, the Nepali government--one of the most inept and corrupt on this planet--just opened a money stream (i.e.permit prices) by opening this formerly secret and sacred area to trekkers. Why shouldn't a local or two profit from the coming corrosion? The lama seemed happily relieved when he hung up with a final "Tashi delek!" But I was a mess. Here I was about to abet profiteering when just yesterday I was doing my damnedest to stop it. For months I'd been urged to help prevent Chinese bulldozers from destroying the ancient sacred high hidden valley of Tsum as they plowed a highway from Lhasa to Kathmandu. It was now or never but just yesterday I'd finally gotten to sending an email to somebody who might significantly manage that. So saving the sacred authenticity of these secret valleys was on what's left of my mind. I didn't want to think about it. It was way to early in the day and I didn't want to soil my bed with shit like this. Since I had the phone in hand, I checked my email for distraction. One new letter...from my dear German friend with two granddaughters: one living in Spain with her mother, the other living a block away with her father and spending afterschool hours with her granny. My friend sounded sad. Everything was okay really, on the surface anyway, she said, but in truth her husband's physical condition was "not getting any better as people always assume. Actually it is getting worse and we are trying our best to be brave and go on." More than 70 years ago, he'd been new life like baby James, and almost 50 years ago, my friend had worked at building a bridge to him in marriage, like my young friend's Spanish parents. Their son had tried too, like my friend in LA, but his bridge collapsed, its shear splitting children.
My Spanish friend slipped out the door to catch her ride to life coaching. I lay in bed sad but also weirdly happy. All the troubles streaming through were not about me. They were for me binoculars that revealed up close and personal that suffering of change the Buddha, 2,600 years ago, warned us about. I had been given the gift of zooming in on the same old same old cycling around and around to keep carving the canyon called Samsara. A new baby, an old man, a broken marriage, an impending one, mired in family duty and migrated toward a better life. I didn't have to drive anywhere for life coaching.
And if you don't think those calls, texts and emails really came, feel free to check with the NSA.
Author of How To Fix a Leek and Other Food From Your Farmers' Market, new edition published May 2011; and Veggiyana: the Dharma of Cooking, published September 2011 by Wisdom Publications. Founder and president of Veggiyana, a charitable effort to feed Buddhist monastics and schoolchildren in India, Nepal and Tibet. On Facebook as Prima Dharma Cook.
This is a blog of essays from the Buddhist perspective of Sandy Garson.
Visit my web site Yours In The Dharma, where I try to make sense of the bewilderment in daily life. I meditate aloud on how the teachings of my guru Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, the golden rosary of his Tibetan Kagyu lineage and the Buddha himself come alive in the headlines and heartaches to rescue us all from suffering.