Happy July 4th everyone, I hope you and your families have a happy and safe holiday! It’s always interesting to me, to reflect on the Fourth of July Holiday, often termed “Independence Day” in celebration of the birth of a nation. On one hand, the genesis of this nation instilled the notion of liberation into the hearts and minds of myriad peoples in the modern world and on the other, it simply gave rise to another set of constructs and borders existing only as strong armed ideas set out of a map.
In 1775 Patrick Henry delivered in a speech to the Virginia Convention his famous line “Give me liberty or give me death”- all notions of “independence” aside, that’s a sentiment I can grok. Indeed, from the very beginning of the turning of the wheel of Buddhasasana, this has been a central tenet of our practicing, wherein moksha or liberation from the discursive patterns of thought that separate us infinitely from the direct engagement of reality where our lives take place, are transcended and true freedom is realized, where in the words of American avant-garde composer John Cage we are “granted permission…but not to do what we want”.
Liberation is about the realization of profound interdependence, it’s about moving beyond the illusions of “I, my and me” and finding a life of “us-ness”, all together becoming the great way. In the truly awakened heart (bodhicitta) there is no freedom nor liberation for one, without freedom and liberation for all, and thus I invite you to join me in prayer with your thoughts, words and deeds, especially today, that all may be liberated, fulfilled, and free.