Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 9 – Radical Dharma with Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 9 - Radical Dharma with Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Rev. angel Kyodo williams joins Ethan for a conversation around practicing radical Dharma, waking up to our privilege and bias, and finding opportunity for institutional change in our toxic political climate.

As an ordained Zen sensei, Reverend angel Kyodo williams applies wisdom teaching to social issues and is a leading voice for Transformative Social Change. Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her willingness to both sit with and speak to uncomfortable truths. Find upcoming events, writings and more from Rev. angel at

Links from this episode: 2019 Online Buddhist Studies | Radical Dharma

Show Notes

Radical Dharma (Opening) – Reflecting on current events, Rev. angel looks at the shift in cultural awareness around institutional racism – the topic of her co-authored book, Radical Dharma. She and Ethan talk about the intersection of race and Dharmic organizations in the West, exploring why it took so long for race to become part of the conversation in our communities.

“The very value of the Dharma is to interrogate everything.” – Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Waking Up To The Status Quo (15:00) – Ethan and Rev. angel look at the ways that well-intentioned people of privilege can become blind to the injustices of the world. Together they explore how teachings of emptiness and non-duality can be misused by someone with misguided intent.

The two also look at the value in readily welcoming criticism of ourselves and our beliefs. Rev. angel and Ethan talk about the what can be accomplished when invite the challenge of criticism with an open-heart and clear mind.

“One could say that everything is full of everything else, that is a way that you could understand the concept of emptiness better than to hold onto a word in English that doesn’t appropriately communicate the refined nature of what is meant in emptiness. I often tell people that in Japanese, the ideogram that is used for emptiness is sky. Would you say the sky is empty, or would you say that the sky is boundless and inclusive of all things? That is what emptiness means in the Dharmic way.” – Rev. angel Kyodo williams

The Real Opportunity (35:55) – Rev. angel shares the optimism and dismay she has experienced during the last two election cycles in America. She reflects on the opportunities for change and awakening these past few years of political tumult have provided.

“I think that people are headed towards the point at which we realize how absurd it is to continue to have these outrageous battles, fighting over the interpretation of an utterly flawed document. A document that is no longer timely or relevant to who it is that makes up America.” – Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Ideal Dharma (44:00) – What does an ideal Dharmic community look like, one without any cultural or institutional baggage? Rev. angel and Ethan imagine what the future of Dharma communities might look like in the future.

Check out Rev. angel’s conversation with Sharon Salzberg around bridging spirituality & activism on Ep  42 of the Metta Hour Podcast

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 9 - Radical Dharma with Rev. angel Kyodo williams


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