Sunday, March 20, 2011


On Friday, March18, we went to a memorial service at the Japanese Garden in Portland. It was a simple ceremony and vigil in memory of the loss of life in the recent earthquake and tsunami. This garden is arguably the most peaceful place in Portland. It lies at the base of the west hills and features an overlook where it is possible, on a good day to see both Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. It was not a good day for viewing the mountains, but the small crowd assembled was not about sight seeing.
A local Buddhist monk chanted, and then we were offered the opportunity to take a small bit if incense and place it into a burner, as is the custom. This we did.
Participants in the service were also encouraged to walk the grounds of the garden and reflect/worship/mediate/ their own way about the recent tragedy. The location resembles one big Zen garden. There is also a small stream that empties into pools filled with Koi.
Other events were simultaneously taking place in the city as well. Groups gathered to take part in other tsunami related services, anti-war demonstrations, and education rallies. A harmonic convergence, of sorts.
In my long history of demonstrations, and vigils, the simple ceremony at the Japanese Garden was singular. It gave a glimpse of a sane, non-violent, serene world. There was something timeless about it, something inspirational, if I dare.
Today we hear that the U.S. is military is involved in yet another country with the news from Libya. All the arguments sound hollow when we rely on the old "humanitarian crisis." How many other crises of a similar nature do we ignore. I just ask that (oil) the commander in chief, (oil) and his advisors, (oil) and the pundits, journalists, (oil) and other countries involved in this "coalition." tell the truth. This time.
Item: the number of American military suicides last year was slightly lower than combat deaths.

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