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Date: 11/05/2021
  • Audio Podcast
  • Grounding in Gratitude
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  • Going Forth
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Plum Village Podcast – Grief and Joy on a Planet in Crisis: Joanna Macy on the Best Time To Be Alive

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

In this episode, 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 from six decades of activism, has written twelve books, and teaches an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects.

Together, all three discuss: the relevance of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings to the crises we face today as a species; the energy of simplicity; truth-telling and the power of facing the truth; the grounds for transformation; impermanence; interbeing.

Joanna recollects what Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and activism have meant to her, and shares a special meeting with him in the early 1980s, during a UN peace conference, when Thay read one of his essential poems in public for the first time. Joanna’s activism, forged during many campaigns, and her practice and study of Theravada Buddhism, shine through in her priceless advice about facing the current social and ecological crisis, grieving for all creation, and finding the power to deal with the heartbreaking present-day reality. She also addresses how grief and joy can coexist in one person, and how to be present for life even in the midst of struggle.

Their conversations will take you from the current “great unravelling” and the “gift of death” to Rilke’s poetry; the magic of love as solution; active hope; the contemporary relevance of the ancient Prophecy of the Shambhala Warriors; the possibility of a “great turning”. And can you guess her aspirations at 92? Could a swing be just the perfect place to discuss the evanescence of life?

Brother Phap Huu shares a lesson in patience from Thay, and adds to the teachings of touching suffering, recognizing and embracing the truth, consumption of consciousness, finding balance, and smiling at life.

Jo reads a special translation of one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, expands upon some of Joanna’s core books and philosophies, and recollects “irreplaceable” advice about overwork.

The episode ends with a guided meditation by Joanna Macy.

Contributor/Author: Plum Village