Members of our art and editorial departments share their personal picks for don’t-miss stories of the year.
Tynette Deveaux, Editor, Buddhadharma
Koun Franz, Deputy Editor, Buddhadharma
In “We’re Not Who You Think We Are,” Chenxing Han punches holes in stereotypes about young Asian American Buddhists, skillfully demonstrating that the common narrative about “ethnic” versus “convert” Buddhists doesn’t hold up.
Andrew Glencross, Associate Art Director, Lion’s Roar
I’d have to go with Lindsay Kyte’s profile of Rebecca Solnit. It turned me on to Solnit’s amazing mind and body of work, where I’m still finding helpful advice for keeping calm AND speaking truth to power — a necessary balancing act in these dark times.
Lilly Greenblatt, Assistant Editor, LionsRoar.com
My favorite piece of the year, “When Thich Nhat Hanh Met a French Soldier,” serves as a reminder that we can build meaningful connections, and even friendships, with those who we perceive as enemies. Thich Nhat Hanh takes us back to Vietnam during the French Indochina War, and reflects on the unexpected friendship he developed with a French soldier. It’s a sweet anecdote of seemingly unlike minds connecting, and the healing that happens as a result.
Melvin McLeod, Editor-in-Chief, Lion’s Roar
For an editor, being asked to choose your favorite story is like having to say which child you love the most. So I’ll make it a bit easier on myself by choose a story that’s actually 14 in 1. It’s “Hear the Lions Roar,” from the inaugural issue with our new name. This is a collection of short statements by the teachers who appeared on the special foldout cover about what is Buddhism’s most important message for this troubled world. I’ve selected this story because it illustrates the diversity, compassion, and wealth of insight of Buddhism today. The message of these 14 outstanding teachers is even more important now than it was a year ago.
Lindsay Kyte, Associate Editor, Lion’s Roar
I pick Sylvia Boorstein’s article about intention for the current issue of Lion’s Roar, “One Simple Practice That Changes Everything.” Why? Because intention gives me a throughline to my day, with a beginning, middle, and end, and a spine to revisit when life hands me the unexpected.
Seth Levinson, Art Director, Buddhadharma
I think one of my faves was by Pema Khandro Rinpoche from the Fall 2016 Buddhadharma: “You’re Ready Enough.” I deeply appreciate how accessible and profound her teachings are. Her teaching reminded me that the heart of the bodhisattva path is genuineness, which eclipses concept, and so by nature, is a reliable guide for being helpful.
Sam Littlefair, Associate Editor, LionsRoar.com
Zenkei Blanche Hartman was a prolific figure in American Buddhism, a longtime contributor to our magazines, the first female abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, and an exceptionally touching and illuminating teacher. When she died in May of this year, we retrieved this teaching on mortality from our archive. I found it to be a beautiful testament to life. As she wrote, paraphrasing Yeats, “I can live the truth but cannot know it, and I must express it with the remainder of my life.”
Liza Matthews, Art Director, Lion’s Roar
My fave is John Tarrant’s “How to Welcome the End of the World” in the November issue. I will carry my photocopy of this article with me as an amulet that protects the heart to stay open without being gullible. The writer gives pointers on how to bear the things we can’t change. Here’s an example: “Many things can’t be changed; what we can do is accompany each other…Hold the motivation to awaken alongside all beings, this makes us helpful without having to feel virtuous or worthy, which are subtle ways to close things down.”
Rod Meade Sperry, Editor, LionsRoar.com
As someone who wrestled with burnout this year — especially after the election, and all the violence that seemed to crop up in its aftermath, I’m especially thankful for Mushim Ikeda’s inspired, inspiring article “I Vow Not to Burn Out” and the “Great Vow for Mindful Activists” included therein: “Aware of suffering and injustice, I, _________, am working to create a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. I promise, for the benefit of all, to practice self-care, mindfulness, healing, and joy. I vow to not burn out.”