Essays on the Frank Espada Archive

The notes and essays in this collection were written over the last couple of years, as I’ve prepared for events, and communicated with scholars, curators, and representatives from universities. In a few cases, I’ve included something just because it has a family story or two in it.  Perhaps all together these will help someone who is interested to get a fuller idea of who my father was, along with his own writing, and his art, of course.

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Rediscovering Joy

Putting the joy back in Joyful Effort

In Buddhism, we call a bodhisattva someone who’s intent on helping others in every needed way. He or she does this through what are called the Six Perfections, which are Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Joyful Effort, Meditation and Wisdom. This is, or should be, a path of unsurpassed happiness, and mature joy, because this is not a small ambition to have. Such great love is, in fact, the fulfillment of our lives here.  Sometimes, however, we lose our zeal…

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Freedom of Mind – the Root of the Social Gospel

For Dr. David Hilfiker, with photographs by Frank Espada

‘We belong to each other…’

I. The social gospel defined

The social gospel is the view that we are made to care for each other; that we are here to protect, support and encourage each other; to love, nurture and celebrate every one of our family, from birth, through all the stages of life, in struggle and difficulty, and in times of ease and success.

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Power and Love – a Buddhist Perspective

We fear power because we associate it with aggression.  It’s there in everything from militarism to abusive husbands and boyfriends, to those we say are ‘drunk with power’ – implying control, domination, and injustice.  But power in itself is neutral.  Power can be turned any way, and this is something we need to know, for our own sake, for that of our community, and world.

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Spread the Word – The Answer is Love

I first saw what has come to be known as ‘the human microphone’ during Occupy.  This is where one person speaks, and those around him or her repeat it, so that others can hear.  They begin with saying ‘Mic check!’ ‘MIC CHECK’, the crowd replies. This is a time when we all need to repeat the best things that we hear, a time when we all suffer and struggle together, and whatever wisdom we can gather needs to be spoken far and wide.

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Interdimensionalty in Buddhism and in American Cinema

If the doors of perception were cleansed,
all things would appear as they are, infinite
…” – William Blake

In a recent movie, Tomorrowland, a young woman touches a magical medallion, and is transported to another world, where it is safe, beautiful, and enlightened. When she lets go of the button, she’s back in her ordinary world. When I first saw this, I thought immediately of how it was just like the working of mantra in Buddhism – under the right circumstances, it can shift a person’s awareness immediately, and produce the vision of a Pure Land that has been right here all along.

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