Category Archives: Uncategorized

How a monk-turned-street artist sees New York City’s homeless

My article, co-written with Terence Cantarella, about the incredible and compassionate art work of Pairoj Pichetmetakul is now published in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

Courtesy of Pairoj Pichetmetakul (4)

Walking home from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco on a cold autumn night in 2013, Pairoj Pichetmetakul passed a scene he’ll never forget.

On a nearly empty street in the SoMa district, Pairoj saw a young man beating a white-haired homeless man who appeared to be in his 70s. The attacker punched and kicked his victim, then sat on his chest and pummeled his face.

Pairoj wanted to help but fear held him back. He was new in the country, his English was poor, and he couldn’t call the police because his cell phone battery had died. So, he just walked home.

 “I couldn’t sleep,” recalled the now-32-year-old artist, who goes by his first name. “I went back in the morning to find the old man but he wasn’t there.”

Three years earlier, Pairoj had been a saffron-robed monk living at the Wat Hua Krabue Buddhist temple near Bangkok, where he recalls trying to avoid stepping on insects while walking between his living quarters and the temple.

Why, then, didn’t he help the homeless man?

That question troubled him so deeply that he resolved to make amends the only way he felt he could—through his art. Thus began an artistic and social project he calls “The Positivity Scrolls.”

To read more, click here.

 

Kofi Anan on Conflict Resolution

Trump Gives Negotiation a Bad Name

Over at the Daily Beast I take Donald Trump to task for giving negotiation a bad name. Basically Trump is perpetuating the myth of the adversarial hardball negotiator (one that both social science and common sense have long buried).  To read, click here.

Offend Yourself

I recently joined forces with the Moral Courage project on their “just one question” initiative. My question (inspired by Walt Whitman) is: Can you embrace an idea that you or your friends vigorously disagree with? Now it’s your turn, watch the video and take the challenge.  #OffendYourself

A Picture of Hope, Compassion and Courage

Recently I came across an arresting picture of a frightened Israeli policewoman shielded by two Palestinians during a violent confrontation in the West Bank. The photograph was taken by Shaul Golan and features (among others)  Zakaria Sadah. The potentially iconic image contains a profound truth: it is through acts of extraordinary moral and physical courage, grounded in principles of equality, interdependence, and non-violence that we begin to know justice and peace.

powerfulpic

To read my thoughts on the matter, click here.

World Does Not Need a Jewish Ann Coulter

While on the Dr. Drew show, Jewish conservative pundit Ben Shapiro refused to refer to Caitlyn Jenner by her preferred pronoun and deliberately provoked transgender journalist Zoey Tur by asking her, “What are your genetics, sir?” Shapiro went on to say that he refuses to recognize the self-identity of a transgender person because he does not want to “mainstream delusion,” “mental illness,” and support “body mutilation.” In turn, Zoey put her hands on Ben and threatened his life. My open letter in defense of transgender folks. I argue that Shapiro is making the logical is/ought fallacy, however, his “is” (science) is not an is, and his “ought” does not follow. I end by making a moral case for empathy and compassion towards our transgender brothers and sisters.

To read more, click here.

My Interview for upcoming FED talk

On August 28th, conflict resolution and negotiation specialist Roi Ben-Yehuda will be the featured presenter at FED: dinner parties where you are fed by gourmet food, inspirational ideas, and the company and creative energy of your matched dinner companions. The following is an interview conducted between Deborah Fishman (FED founder) and Roi Ben-Yehuda.

To read more, click here.