In ACTIVISM by Pema Dragpa2 Comments

The key word of our times is disruption.

Whether it’s Blockchain, Bitcoin, or 1,000 other cryptocurrencies
Smartphones that dis/connect
Loneliness, anxiety, and zombie epidemics
Always soma-life if you like

The growing global choice between
Bernie or Trump populism
Alt-right, altogether, or always-only-me

Intensifying heat
Oceanic acidification
Water scarcity
Broken ice shelves
Extreme weather events
Overpowering floods of refugees
Accelerated species extinction

Increased human longevity
Ongoing population explosion
All-new diseases and widespread old ones
Ancient herbal remedies
Inevitable “1st world” simplicity
Growing “3rd World” solidarity
Of indigenous communities

Recalcitrant fundamentalist tribalism
Expanded ancient culture wars
Crumbling empires and new alliances

Worldcentric globalism
For one common human family
Or the Military-Prison-Pharmaceutical-Food-Insurance … Industrial Complex

Neocon neoliberalism
Different tv channels
Same parent company

The ever-shrinking 0.0000000000001%
Against all the rest of us

Expanding military overreach everywhere.
Protecting what?

Resisting endless war as the cornerstone of economic prosperity.
For whom?

Unrepayable structured and national debts
Trickle down privatized you-name-it
Glaring limitations of gov-corp democracy for the few
Or by the many who mainly want to know
Only hyper-tangible raunchy “real life” reality-tv.

There is always an explosion.

Personal storage batteries
Various alternative energies
Ever-present nuclear jeopardy
Cost-prohibitive carbon emission
Airline traveling

Automated nearly everything
Almost entirely gig economy
Needing to relearn lost abilities
Like listening
Repairing broken things
Stewarding the earth
And growing our own food seasonally

The inescapable need
To rebuild local communities
Of mutual trust
And belonging

Threatening corruption
Personal privacy
And playfulness

A thorough refusal of dominator hierarchies
Accessible education
And the empowerment of young women everywhere
Actively protecting and supporting the vulnerable
With Guru contracts?
PC-only skillful means?

And still the blatant need
For actual equality
And ongoing authentic lineage guidance.

Acknowledging the birth and power of alternative facts
By oppressive, extreme relativist postmodernists.
Nihilists like you and me
In that frame of mind.

Since all opinions are not equal.
Some things are better than others
According to evidence and what fits.
Experts know more than beginners
But are only truly advanced with ongoing open beginner’s mind.

Ditching dogma
While honoring endless mysteries and systems of training
Science and (re)discovered magical subtle science
That come alive after logic is developed, enhanced,
And then consciously paused.

Natural and forced mindfulness
Mind training and mind recognition
Not just be here now
As if the absolute could ever be
The only necessary skillful means

A thorough embrace of natural hierarchies
Spectrums of increasing inclusivity
Integral methodologies
Curiously willing to lean
Into all levels, lines, states, stages, types, and quadrants
For deeply rich experience-in-the-making
Actively vulnerable participation

The upcoming obsessions
Of inexpensive, widespread 3D replication
Real time virtual reality living
Impressively accurate gene selection/omission
Microchiping at birth

AI online
That does more than defeat
Every other human or machine
Within hours of learning the rules of a game

Increasingly probable alien contact
Necessary faster-than-light travel to new habitable planets
The technological singularity
What then?


Acceleration-only business-as-usual expectations
That externalize expenses
At the expense of nearly everything
Will fail more thoroughly and frequently.

Nearly nothing from here on out
Will be left unaffected
Inside or outside
Together or alone.

It’s only going to increasingly be
A bumpy ride filled with game-changing surprises
For better and worse.
But will it be a steady trend
Towards breakthroughs or breakdowns?
Fusion, fission, or integration?

Or dynamic agency-in-communion?
Transcendence and embodiment?
Preservation and adaptation?

The always-fresh urgency
Of allowing your heart to break continuously
Without breaking down

Either way
There are still the same old habits and emotions since forever ago
As well as the oldest and always available
Complete disruption-resolution
Of effortless nondistraction
And all the intentional positive grasping supports
For this repeated leap
Into nongrasping wisdom awareness

Either way
I’m certainly praying and training for
Greater wholeness and inclusion
Rather than fragmentation and partiality.

And for all of us to relax a bit
And remember
How amazing it all is.

About the Author
Pema Dragpa

Pema Dragpa

Lama Pema Dragpa has been a resident Dharma teacher at Padma Samye Ling (PSL) since 2004, the main monastery & retreat center of the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center founded by the Nyingma Dzogchen masters Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche & Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. Ordained as a lama by Rinpoches, Dragpa graduated with honors in philosophy & religious studies from NYU in 2002, is a senior editor of over 20 books on Buddhist philosophy & meditation, and is a certified Hospice volunteer. He regularly travels to lead PBC events on traditional & contemporary Buddhist philosophy and meditation. Here's the website of the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center.

Photo of the inside of Olafur Eliasson’s chandelier in the Copenhagen Opera House by Rebecca Bergmann-Bettini.

Share this Post


  1. Avatar

    What is authentic lineage?

  2. Pema Choedron

    Thank you for an extraordinary text – on the path to the inevitable exhaustion into the pure, compassionate nature.

Leave a Comment