I have worked as a Public Defender in Oakland for 19 years, and fought for my client's liberty and dignity in the oppressive criminal justice system. A huge proportion of my clients are currently or formerly homeless.
I am also a Zen priest with the Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen Order and I am committed to a life of practice and the cultivation of wisdom, compassion, and skillful means.
To deepen my practice, I sometimes go sit still for a week on Sesshin. This summer I am trying something different. This August I am doing a Street Retreat, in which I will join others in a group which will experience and bear witness to living homeless in the city for 4 days and nights.
We will live on the streets of San Francisco with no resources other than our true nature, experiencing homelessness first-hand, having to beg for money, find places to get food, shelter, to use the bathroom, etc. By bearing witness to homelessness in this way, we can begin to see our prejudices and our boundaries directly and to recognize our common humanness. It is a way to experience our interconnection and realize our responsibilities.
We begin our begging practice by assembling a mala, or beads that are strung together and worn like a bracelet or necklace. Each bead represents a person who sponsors that participant's street retreat, and the entire mala represents the community of support. We will wear our malas on the street retreat.
My promise was to raise $500, but I want to do more: my vision is to raise $5000.
So I am begging. From the bottom of my heart.
Please offer some money to this fund, which will go to the social service agencies and public non-profit organizations that will support our lives on the street.
Every one of you who donates will walk with me on my journey, and I promise to share the experience upon my return: I will do so in writing and poetry, in speeches and conversation, and in my practice of the law.
With love and humilty,
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