Stephen Gaskin

Stephen Gaskin is a well-known teacher and counter-culture personality, and the author of several books including Haight- Ashbury Flashbacks, Rendered Infamous, Cannabis Spirituality, This Season's People, and Outlaw in My Heart. He is a founder of The Farm Community: the largest and most successful hippie community in the world, created by a caravan of 400 hippies in 50 school-busses (and about 40 other vehicles), travelling across country from Haight-Ashbury. Stephen is also a founder of he Rocinante Health Center Project and Plenty International, an overseas relief and development company that helped rebuild 1200 houses and put in 27 kilometers of waterpipe in Guatemala, set up clinics in Lesotho and Mexico, and manifest many other projects around the world including the Jefferson Award winning South Bronx Ambulance Project in New York City.

The Politics of Healing: The Spiritual Obligation to be a Political Activist

I met the Austrian Greens in 2000, riding on Ina May's midwife coattails. They were amused that the only person who came to represent that point of view, and who knew Al Gore and Ralph Nader, was a hippy. While in Amsterdam for the Cannabis Cup this November, they asked me to fly me to Austria to comment on the American mess. I wasn't ready to fly, being still jet lagged from getting across the Atlantic, so the Dutch Greens interviewed me and I cut them a DVD of it . This is what I told them: "Those of us who live in countries where a person can speak up have a holy obligation to speak out. In most countries freedom of speech is a deadly luxury. Witness Benazir Bhutto. If we don't use the freedom we have on the behalf of those who have none, we will lose that which we have as well. Praises to the universe that I can still point out that G. W. Bush is a liar and a thief and an idiot and an asshole without it costing me my life. It means that this country is still worth saving." From health care to the healing of the environment and the body politic, join Stephen Gaskin in this election year as he rallies the forces for change.

The Zen of Politics and the Transmission of Mind

People who know me know I'm way the hell out on the spiritual, dope-smoking, meditating left. If they know me pretty well, they know I'm in the competent, non-superstitious, hardheaded end of that spectrum. I've been to a lot of "END OF THE WORLD!" parties, yet here we are. I don't care about anybody's creation myth. I am scandalized that half of the Republican field of candidates does not believe in evolution; that's a clue about how good our educational system is. What we lack is an empirically derived, widely agreed-on, easy-to-grok system of mind and spirit. Most of our religious structures are stuck in cultural imperialism. We know little about the beginning of the world, but a huge amount more than they did 2000 years ago; and I'm content to wait and enjoy the progress on truth made in my lifetime, without having to invent stories about how it started. The Buddhists have a concept called "transmission of mind;" the only truly recognized succession in Zen. It's a condition of the head that can be experienced, recognized, and understood. In a system that has elements of falling in love and realizing one's place in the world, if a Zen mind meets another mind that can communicate, it is called transmission of mind. That's the real treasure that can come down to us unchanged for thousands of years. All other stuff is culturally tainted and historically dated. But Zen today is just as fresh as the first one. That system where we learn about our own mind and the changes we can bring about in our mind by how we live, how we treat other people, and how we teach our children is the important linchpin that can hold society together.

















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