Open Love Letter to Joanne Friday

This letter of gratitude and celebration is offered to Dharma Teacher Joanne Friday, known to many of us as a dear teacher, mentor, sister and friend on the path.  After well over a decade of living with – but never defined by – metastatic cancer, Joanne transitioned from the Historic dimension into the Ultimate dimension on January 20, 2021.  Her wisdom, clarity and abundant joy continue on in us.

‘Our life is our message.’
Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Joanne,

This life is a precious, temporal gift, and we are its steward.  We know that this manifestation of human life does not end with the body, but instead continues in another form, a different manifestation.  All is transformation.  All is continuation.  Life cannot be destroyed.  Life cannot be created.  This body is a living continuation, a legacy of our thoughts, words, and actions. The comforting wisdom and insight of signlessness lights the way.  
We know too that happiness and suffering inter-are.  We live with both; they are interdependent. The wisdom of grief and loss is the awareness that something important, something meaningful, something we love, was lost.
Like you, we are vulnerable, and that makes us profoundly, beautifully human, and tender.  Our tender heart is touched by your life, your words, your fierce and unwavering support for BIPOC communities and other marginalized people, your unshakeable commitment to the Plum Village community, and to our Beloved teacher, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Joanne, you are a lamp on the path, shining brightly the way of deep clarity, justice, gentleness, love, and understanding.  You embodied the paramitas and thus taught it to us all. We are here because of you, your life, your teaching, a Living manifestation of the Dharma. You are there because of us.
Your life is like casting a small pebble in a big pond and watching the ripple effect.  You are the waves of the ripple, emanating within and around us, within the sangha.  We celebrate you with immense gratitude and love and we pray that each moment of your life, your breath, continue as a Bell of Mindfulness to help us remember the condition of our life, our practice of compassionate action, our commitment to justice and equity for all beings.

No coming, no going.
No after, no before.
I hold you close,
I release you to be free;
I am in you
And you are in me.
With love and gratitude,

ARISE Core Group
Awakening Through Race, Intersectionality and Social Equity

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