Hope takes work in the moment and grows through deep time. It is not over until all of us (including the screamers) are free from suffering; just as there is not one America, there is not one Hell, and certainly there is not just one apocalypse. If we look attentively we see how many lives in how many places are destroyed time and time again. The question facing each of us is: where can I work? What relationships, what changes allow me to help end suffering? And then we work, trusting that other bodhisattvas are also doing their hard practice in fields where we cannot, because (and this I believe) just as there is not one world, there is not one Paradise, and certainly there is not only one savior.
Every Sunday afternoon at the P&V, we provide open art classes for children who may or may not be allowed to stay in Shenzhen for high school, depending on their test scores and parents’ hukou status. Indeed, as in other nation states, China deploys gradated forms of citizenship to regulate and manage its populace. This management of who can and cannot cross what borders allows multinational companies to exploit differently constituted labor markets. Thus, within Shenzhen there has been a traditional divide between those with HK identity cards, HK border passes, Shenzhen hukou, Shenzhen residency, and hukou from other cities and rural areas. The wall, if you will, does not need to be built when we carry it with us.
Today, in honor of hope building,I offer some images from our children’s art project at the P+V. Throughout November, Marco Flagg has been teaching visual literacy by way of donated cell phones. The kids keep coming back, and they are thriving. So, despite the determination to exclude and divide, today: photos of a project that continues to inspire me.