Dalai Lama: Humans Created Terrorism, So Stop Praying To God For A Solution ~ Michael McLaughlin


<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says humankind bears some responsibility for the emergence of terrorism.</span>ASHWINI BHATIA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says humankind bears some responsibility for the emergence of terrorism.

Prayer alone will not be enough to stem terrorist attacks like the shootings and bombings last week that devastated Paris and shocked the world, the Dalai Lama said.

The Buddhist spiritual leader from Tibet said in an interview with German media outlet Deutsche Welle on Monday that terrorism is a problem caused by humans and, thus, must be fixed by mankind without God’s intervention. 

“People want to lead peaceful lives. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” the Dalai Lama said as part of a response to a question about how he viewed the attacks.

“I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. “It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”

Other religious leaders, like Pope Francis, have encouraged followers to join him in prayer after Friday’s series of shootings and bombings that killed at least 129 people and injured more than 300. 

It would also be unwise to expect politicians to devise solutions too, the Dalai Lama said.

“So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments,” he said. 

Though the conflict between Western secular countries and radicalized Islamist terrorists is often depicted as a clash of civilizations with irreconcilable differences, the Dalai Lama said the struggle is not nearly as stark.

“The problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities. We are one people.”

The Dalai Lama’s comments echo remarks he made in New York on his first visit to the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

During that trip, The New York Times reported that he said “compassion, dialogue — peaceful means” are the “real antidote” to terrorism

“‘Terrorism comes out of hatred, and also short-sightedness,” he said. 



It’s Time To Unwind, Sis: Activists Must Practice Self-Care ~ Najya Williams

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At the time of Trayvon Martin’s death, I was an eighth grader on my way to high school. I first heard the news of this horrific racial injustice on the radio, and to say I was shocked is an understatement. It was my first experience with racial injustice not only in my generation, but in this era. Four years and dozens of stolen lives later, I was as emotionally drained as I had ever been. The constant fear of becoming another hashtag or developing one for someone in my inner circle paralyzed my thoughts daily. Am I next? Will I become another hashtag? How am I supposed to want to bring children into this type of environment?

My journals of poetry are reflective of how consumed I had become with the events that continue to take over our nation. I have participated in discussion after discussion within my community, but I still live with the thought that I may have to say goodbye to the people in my life sooner than I desire. My thoughts often journey to the three women who were not only brave enough to initiate but also continue to grow the #BlackLivesMatter movement. When was the last time someone told them it was okay to take a day to breathe mentally?

Reflecting on my thoughts and emotions, I realize that I am not alone. As young, African-American women, we often do not give ourselves the opportunity to unplug from the world around us. We are expected to be an ever present source of strength no matter what is happening, and in turn, our overall health and wellness suffers. I am learning that I cannot help another soul unless I am well within, so I want to encourage you to take a day to gather yourself, too. The racial injustices that occur in our nation are traumatizing, and it is important that we make our health a priority so that we are able inspire change effectively.

I know you may be thinking: “Najya, where do I even begin? I don’t have that type of time.” I’m so glad that you asked! As activists, we know that political and social change does not happen overnight. Well, the same applies to us! We cannot expect to be happier, cheerier people after just one minute, hour or day. Making our emotional and mental health a priority is a commitment that we must make daily because the journey to becoming emotionally sound does not have an endgame.

After identifying where I had channeled all of my emotional energy, I decided to make some changes. Here are some of the activities and practices that I have started and continue to do as I move forward in my journey:

➢ Take a social media fast. I know that this is easier said than done, but the benefits make it worthwhile.

➢ Meditate/Pray. My faith has been my saving grace when I watch the news and follow cases of racial injustice. In moments of fear and sadness, I hold my faith and spirituality close to my mind, body, and soul.

➢ Journal/Keep a diary. An age-old technique, journaling and writing in a diary allows you to let go some of the thoughts and feelings you have saved in your memory bank. Let your notebook and pen carry some of that weight!

➢ Go on a “staycation.” If you are like me and your mind is always running a thousand miles per hour, try setting aside one or two personal days that you can take off from business/academics to completely pamper yourself with a new look, spa treatments, and great food! You can also dedicate a weekend to check into a local resort or hotel and unwind alone. Turn your phone and notifications off during the day and let your hair down. It is the perfect way to clear your mind and recharge emotionally while not venturing too far away from home!

I hope that these ideas encourage you to devote time to rejuvenating, recharging, and becoming stronger emotionally. As I grow, it is my prayer that we grow as a community. I send you positivity, love, and hope.

Photo: Shutterstock

Najya Williams is a social activist, spoken word artist and future pediatrician. She aspires to publish several books on her journey to self-discovery, healing, and faith. Najya hopes that her work encourages others to chase their dreams and reach beyond the celestial realm.


Every Day Something Has Tried To Kill Me ~ Naomi Jackson

“Being a black child in America means confronting the fragility of your life at a young age.”

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

My debut novel was published this summer at a moment filled with profound grief about the vulnerability of black women’s lives. This year has been marked by the distant but still painful deaths of black women I don’t know — Cynthia G. Hurd and others killed in cold blood in Charleston, South Carolina, and Sandra Bland, found dead in a jail cell in Texas. As I’ve tried to make sense of these events, the only thing that I’ve been able to hold on to is God. 

When I was a child, I didn’t understand why my grandmothers — Oriel from Barbados, Ruth from Antigua, and Lily from Jamaica — were so prayerful. Today, I understand the concept of getting prayed up, the reason why black women need anchors in a world that sometimes seems indifferent to our survival and at other times, dead set on our demise. Now, face to face with the brutal deaths of women like me and the women in my family, I look to God because there is no other place where I have been able to find peace.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

I knew that my book’s journey would be different than I expected when, just before its publication, my novel was mentioned in two takedowns of the unbearable whiteness of the New York Times summer reading list. At first I wondered, naively, why my writing was caught in the crossfire of these debates. And then I remembered the inescapability of my blackness, the way that race would propel me and my work into the world in ways that I couldn’t anticipate and would have to engage. While I believe that writers have no social or political obligations beyond those they choose, I know that what will be asked of me will be different than what’s asked of my peers. I write now in the tradition of writers who have lent their voices to social justice movements, including Edwidge Danticat, Junot Díaz, Roxane Gay, Binyavanga Wainaina, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, James Baldwin, and Audre Lorde. I am inspired by the youth-led movement in defense of humanity and against police brutality, embodied in the Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName campaigns.

The Sunday after the massacre in Charleston, I went to a church, the progressive Middle Collegiate, led by a black woman pastor, Reverend Jacqueline Lewis. I had been looking for a church home for some time. When I first visited I knew that this was where I needed to be — in a multiracial congregation that included artists, transgender folks, intergenerational families, and an out gay minister. That Sunday, the service broke my heart, already in pieces after digesting as much of the news as I could handle. Nine chairs were set out on the altar to represent the nine people who were killed in Charleston. And then the Sunday school children were asked to sit in these chairs in remembrance of the slain. I held my breath as I watched the children take their seats. The church fell silent; perhaps everyone was wondering, like me, if this gesture was too heavy for children. But then I remembered that, as Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in his book Between the World and Me, being a black child in America means confronting the fragility of your life at a young age.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

The #SayHerName campaign asks us to call the names of the women who have lost their lives to racism and state violence. Among the dead is Cynthia G. Hurd, the librarian killed while attending bible study at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. I see in Mrs. Hurd the kind of librarian who meant so much to me as a young reader and an aspiring writer; I deeply regret that I’ll never get to meet her. I am haunted by the picture of 30-year-old Shereese Francis that circulated after her death at the hands of New York City police officers in 2012. I see myself in Francis’s face — her chubby cheeks, her carefully applied makeup, her short and well-tended hair, and her modest dress, the inheritance of a daughter of conservative Jamaican parents. Each time I look at Shereese Francis’s picture, I am reminded of the unfairness that she is dead and that I am still alive. When I think about my parents’ sweet gesture of purchasing flowers at their Brooklyn church to celebrate the acquisition of my novel, I am reminded that the only flowers Francis’s parents will ever buy for their daughter will be in her memory. 

I was on book tour recently when the news of Sandra Bland’s untimely death popped up in my Twitter feed. I read the story and started crying, holding it together just long enough to share the news report with my partner at the wheel. My heart sank as I read about how Sandra Bland, just 28 years old, was found dead in a jail cell in Texas, self-asphyxiation listed as the cause of death. Her family refused this explanation for Bland’s death, confident that their child did not take her own life. She had everything to live for. She was young, gifted, and black. She had been a vocal activist in the Black Lives Matter movement that has mobilized young people in America and around the world. Reading Sandra Bland’s story, and seeing her beautiful face, I am outraged by the injustice of her death. Each time I make a stop on my tour, I am reminded that Sandra Bland never made it to her first day at work, and that she will never travel again. 

I want our dead to live, to write their own stories, to laugh and travel and love and fight. I want to live for just a moment in a country where my life and the lives of my sisters and brothers — straight and gay, transgender and cisgender, black and brown — are not imperiled at every moment, even in the homes we make for ourselves as a refuge. This summer has taught me both the limits and the necessity of my faith in these dark times.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

I know that writing, like prayer, helps to close the distance between ourselves and our freedom. I love Lucille Clifton’s poem “won’t you celebrate with me” where she invites readers to “come celebrate / with me that everyday / something has tried to kill me / and has failed.” Even as I celebrate the gift of my life, I do so knowing that I could just as easily be Sandra Bland or Shereese Francis or Cynthia G. Hurd. 

There’s God, and then there’s the work that people of faith and fight are called to do. I am reminded of Assata Shakur, whose words activists turn to for strength. I’ve said Shakur’s words with people of faith and fight in New York and New Mexico this year, and I leave them here now. “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”


Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. She graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Brooklyn.

To learn more about The Star Side of Bird Hillclick here.

Daily Meditation: A Sense Of Belonging ~ Antonia Blumberg

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today’s meditation features a reflection on “belonging and coming home” by philosopher and poet David Whyte. “We are the one part of creation that knows what it’s like to live in exile,” he says. Thus the ability to return home is one of the “great human endeavors.”



Thankful Thursday – The Power Of I Am

Now I am not a religious person but I know a good thing when I see it.

I recently discovered this video while looking through the OWN YouTube channel; I had heard about it, but had never seen it. In this video, Pastor Joel Osteen discusses the power of words and phrases, particularly the term “I Am.” It is a life-hack of sorts, stating that the words you use have impact on the life you live. This all harkens back to the saying “Beware of your thoughts, they become your words. Beware of your words, they become your actions. Beware of your actions, they become your habits. Beware of your habits, they become your character. Beware of your character, it becomes your destiny.” I remember this saying from childhood, my Mom had a huge poster in her office with these very words. It is only recently that I am beginning to understand their meaning.

This video has really inspired me to be more conscious of how I speak to and about myself. It is a bit long but worth every minute. Enjoy!