Love and Justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters. —Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, Sensei
I enjoyed getting to know Rev. angel Kyodo Williams when she presented at the CONSPIRE conference in 2017. She is one of the very few black women Zen Senseis (teachers). Through her Buddhist practice, she seeks to liberate both the oppressed and the oppressors, which is appropriate as we celebrate Juneteenth in the United States today, to recognize the final day of emancipation from slavery in our nation. In this passage, she shares her path to becoming an agent of transformative, peaceful social change.
Not long after finding my place as an activist for social justice, I came up against the need for not just reacting to what was happening in the world, which gave me a sense of purpose but developing a way to look at what was happening, which provided a sense of meaning. I found a second home in cultivating a spiritual life. . . . My formal Zen practice and training were teaching me to find a more restful place that I could abide in within myself despite the chaos and calamity [of] living in an unjust society. . . . It also gave me a way to be in response to sometimes overwhelming situations that could just lead me to a downward spiral of anger and negativity. . . .