Give and let live

//Give and let live

Give and let live

In the course of doing some translation work this afternoon, I come across a reference to an Indian people of the Pacific Northwest of North America, a people called the Kwakwaka’wakw, for whom wealth and status were not determined by how much you had, but by how much you had to give away. « The status of any given family is raised not by who has the most resources, » I read, « but by who distributes the most resources. The hosts demonstrate their wealth and prominence through giving away goods. »
Needless to say, in the late 19th century, the American and Canadian governments saw this as the most dangerous aspect of the tribe’s culture and did everything they possibly could to eliminate it, even passing laws that forbade the formal practice of gatherings and ceremonies when the redistribution of wealth took place. They succeeded.
Meanwhile, tonight I see images on the television news of the people starving in Somalia. And of the crazed gunman in Norway. And of the French president playing his role to better his public image, so that he can garner more votes, so that he can maintain power, so that he can help his rich friends keep their riches and get more riches, so that he can be rich, too, so that…
And then later I come across Thomas Merton’s quote: « The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. »

By | 2017-04-04T06:58:17+01:00 juillet 24th, 2011|Textes|3 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. little lake 30 juillet 2011 at 0 h 01 min - Reply

    You were so deeply aware that in nature
    everything is connected with eachother.
    That everything is one whole.
    That we cannot harm anything
    without harming ourselves.

    You planted so many trees in the garden
    and loved the animals who came to live in it.
    Only recently you said:
    ‘the flowers have never been more beautifull’

    You wanted everything to be so precise and good.
    Everything is good (…),

    Now you may rest,
    embraced (?) in/by (?) the warmth of our heart
    and in/by(?) Silence that contains life and death
    for All is One

  2. litle lake 28 juillet 2011 at 10 h 01 min - Reply

    not a thing is ours – in the first place

  3. Christine 24 juillet 2011 at 23 h 30 min - Reply

    Returned to Luxembourg Garden today with my family and friends. We spent some time with the kids in this huge playground. My son loved it. However, the older children were running around without paying attention to the small ones, some with plastic guns in their hands, each one wanted to be first on the slide, shouting and pushing others. Left the square with mixed feelings and thought that being in such a crowd can make you easily be fed up with people.

    Reading another article about the massacre on the Norvegian island this evening makes me speechless. All these fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers who find their families destroyed by a person full of hatred…

    I step in the room of my children, watch them for a moment peacefully sleeping in their beds and then go to my room and sit for a moment with the parents who lost their children in Norway.

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