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Date: 03/26/2022
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Plum Village Podcast – Active Hope: The Wisdom of Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy interviewed for Plum Village podcast The Way Out Is In: The Zen Art of Living

In this episode, the presenters, Zen Buddhist monk Brother Phap Huu and lay Buddhist practitioner and journalist Jo Confino, are joined by special guest, eco-philosopher Joanna Macy.

A scholar of Buddhism, systems theory, and deep ecology, Joanna Macy, PhD, is one of the most respected voices in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology. She interweaves her scholarship with learnings drawn from six decades of activism, has written twelve books, and teaches an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects.

Together, they talk about the passing and legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh, with a focus on interbeing and continuation. Additional topics include their own practices during uncertain times, and the application of Thay’s teachings in daily life.

Joanna reflects on the early days of peace activism, becoming aware of Thay in the 1960s, and meeting him for the first time in the early 1980s, during a special United Nations session on disarmament.

She further delves into Thay’s courage, imagination, and devotion to life and peace; religion and revolution; why framing the tackling of climate change as a ‘fight’ may not be helpful; transcending individualism and achieving a wider sense of self; seeing our interconnection and inter-existence with all life on Earth; humility; the ‘legacy’ of nuclear weapons; affection and love; honouring the pain we experience for the world; seeing with new eyes; having that ‘sense of wonder’ at the end of the world; and gratitude.

Additionally, she talks about some of the main concepts in the new edition of her classic book, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power, such as the importance of having “power with, not power over”.

And: how would she like to see her continuation in this world?

Brother Phap Huu discusses ways that Thay’s teachings can help us in these times of crises; Thay’s legacy as a peace activist; taking care of the past, present, and future; what it means to be a Bodhisattva; the interbeing effect; moderation; change; and the need for a spiritual dimension.

Jo muses over the importance of bringing the future into the present moment; humility; how Thay became his teachings; and honours Joanna as a teacher and Bodhisattva.

The episode ends with a meditation on interbeing, guided by Joanna Macy.

Contributor/Author: Plum Village