On October 21,2022, the offices and community center of the Dialogue Institute of Kansas City and Kansas City Raindrop Foundation, was the target of vandalism. Three teenage vandals broke in through a window and ransacked the building leaving a swastika, the anarchy symbol and obscene phrases scrawled across walls. On Nov 10, 2022 Lama Matt and other community leaders came together to stand in solidarity with the Dialogue Institute and Raindrop against this act of hate. Lama Matt read the following statement at the event.
The Buddha taught about our interconnectedness to all sentient beings around us. In the Buddhist scripture, The Flower Garland Sutra, the Buddha uses the metaphor of Indra’s net.
“Far away, in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning craftsman in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the craftsman has hung a single glittering jewel in each eye of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now look closely at any one of the jewels for inspection, we will discover that in its polished surface are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is reflecting all the other jewels, so that there are infinite reflections occurring. This symbolizes our world where every sentient being (and thing) is interrelated to one another.”
Because we are all profoundly interconnected, one person or one group’s well-being is intimately connected to the well-being of our community. That is why the insight of interconnectedness is the foundation of any kind of action that can bring peace and brotherhood, and help remove violence and despair. This truth is reflected in Martin Luther King Jr, wisdom in the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” where he said,
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
The Dialogue Institute of Kansas City & the Kansas City Raindrop Foundation is a jewel in our community. Realizing our interconnection, the Rime Buddhist Center and I stand in solidarity with the Dialogue Institute of Kansas City & the Kansas City Raindrop Foundation against hate.
Affirming the existence of the pain and suffering, woundedness, trauma, and heartbrokenness that this act of hate has had on our brothers and sisters let us awaken in our hearts and minds, not just compassion, but also clarity about what we can do to help. What we do always matters, and what we do is always collective. Let us orient ourselves toward creating a more joyous, a more compassionate, a more peaceful world.
I find clarity of purpose in a prayer by the Buddhist Saint Shantideva, and so I offer this prayer with you all here.
May we become at all times, both now and forever,
A protector for those without protection,
A guide for those who have lost their way,
A ship for those with oceans to cross,
A sanctuary for those in danger,
A lamp for those in the dark,
And a servant to all those in need.
As long as living beings exist,
For as long as space endures,
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may we, too,
Abide to dispel the misery of the world.