Probably many of you have heard of Parker Palmer, the Quaker teacher and author of books such as 'A Hidden Wholeness'. I had not until today when he was mentioned in a podcast talk on Hongzhi. Finding out a little about him I am drawn to read more as his words have the flavour of truth, the same flavour that permeates zazen and all good teachings.
Although quotes can of course be taken out of context, and rarely tell the whole story, I hope you will permit me to share a few of his that could be spoken by any Zen teacher of merit:
"Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness-mine, yours, ours-need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life."
“We need a coat with two pockets. In one pocket there is dust, and in the other pocket there is gold. We need a coat with two pockets to remind us who we are.”
“Violence is what happens when we don't know what else to do with our suffering.”
"Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one's self. It is not about the absence of other people-it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people-it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone."
I wish this kind of material on how to live alone and with community was taught in schools alongside the bloody history of humanity.