We are delighted to announce the beginning of a new discussion series at Kannon Do about “Buddhism in Society.” The first speaker in our series will be Troy Williams. He will join us on Saturday February 25th at 10:30am for a conversation about his life, work and Buddhist practice.
Troy started a project called Restorative Media to help black men and women coming out of prison as well as young people at risk of going to jail. He is also working with law enforcement officers to educate them about the importance of their interactions.
“If you run into an officer who is mean and cruel, he is teaching you to be mean and cruel,” explained Troy. On the contrary, “when a police officer is kind and considerate, he is teaching you to have respect for authority,” he added.
Troy was born in Chicago, grew up in LA and now lives in Oakland. He became part of a gang as a teenager and was sent to prison when he was just 14. He joined the Buddhist Sangha at California’s San Quentin State Prison, where he was incarcerated. He says the practice opened up a different world for him and has completely transformed his life.
“I was a very angry and bitter person. The practice taught me how to love myself,” said Troy. He explained that the practice gave him an appreciation for who he really is and helped him to see the pain in others.
“My practice not only allows me to love and accept myself but also to feel compassion for others. When I see someone angry I know they are in pain because my practice has taught me to recognize my own pain,” he said.
The new discussion series is a continuation of the exploration that started in August last year with the guest speaker from Stanford Jenée Desmond-Harris, who came to talk to us about Race, Inequality, and Profiling.
“Buddhism in Society” aims to explore and understand how to bring the principles of awareness, mindfulness and creative responses to difficult problems present in our communities.