Alice Walker on Aung San Suu Kyi

Via Reverend Danny Fisher
on Jun 27, 2009
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Via the Buddhist Peace Fellowship: Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, has written a lovely blog post with her reflections about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Nobel Peace laureate and Prime Minister-elect who is currently on trial before the ruling military junta. Her’s a snippet of what she has to say:

    What makes Aung San Suu Kyi so very special – and Buddhists will yawn – is that she is a meditator. This means her mind is well trained to grasp the implications of actions, especially violent ones, too many of our world leaders seem clueless about. They talk about annihilating, obliterating, beggaring, starving, impoverishing, raping and pillaging other human beings as if this behavior has no consequences to themselves or to those they represent. This is an incredibly antique way of looking at our problems: that we can bomb them away. War is a dead end, literally. And, what is more, we simply can’t afford it. Not morally, and not financially. How long will it take the citizens of the United States, one wonders, to recognize that the house their country bombed in Iraq is the same one they were living in until it was foreclosed? We see, if we care to look, that everything really is connected, and, not only connected, it is the same thing. Aung San Suu Kyi gets this, which is why she renounces violence in the face of one of the most violent regimes in the world, while at the same time not condemning those who, driven to desperate measures by their mistreatment by the regime, resort to violence in an attempt to defend themselves.I can’t think of anything more important than Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle, which she is waging so brilliantly. She has proved she is not afraid of death, and one feels imprisonment will be to her – as being jailed was for Martin Luther King – simply part of a necessary pilgrimage of the soul. I am not as concerned about her, to be honest, as I am about the rest of us. We need Aung San Suu Kyi. We need her example of integrity, courage, a raging and revolutionary loving kindness that has kept her steady in her long years under house arrest. It is amazing to think of the discipline she has taught herself over these years: to see through the masks of even the most brutal dictators, and to discern the confused, unwell, frightened persons behind the masks. To say, even after years of house arrest: I would hope one day to be friends. I would sit down and talk with them.

Read the rest here.

Walker has done some wonderful work for Shambhala Sun, in conversation with Buddhist teachers Pema Chödrön and Sharon Salzberg. I hope she’s able to sit down and talk with Suu Kyi at some point soon…


About Reverend Danny Fisher

Rev. Danny Fisher, M.Div., D.B.S. (Cand.), is a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West in Rosemead, CA. He was ordained as a lay Buddhist minister by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California in 2008. In addition, he is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International. A member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, he serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. In addition to his work for elephant journal, he is a blogger for Shambhala Sun. He has also written for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Religion Dispatches, The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, The Journal of Religion & Film, Eastern Horizon, New York Spirit, Alternet's Wiretap Magazine, and other publications. His award-winning website is


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