Donald Grayston: Peace-maker, peace-disturber, RIP
On how globalization has fueled fundamentalism:
Grayston was been struck by how the â€œshrinking of the worldâ€� through immigration, globalization, technology and especially the spread of television has fuelled religious fundamentalism. â€œPeople in all corners of the world now see images of modernity on TV, particularly of scantily clad men and women behaving in sexual ways, that would get you killed in certain places â€¦ Thereâ€™s cultural shock coming over TV.â€�
On Canadaâ€™s top court granting more than $10 million in compensation to Omar Khadr, who had as a youth confessed to killing a U.S. soldier:
â€œI have met Omar, and found him intelligent, gracious and not bitter. The award is little enough by way of compensation for his 13 years of misery in which our government was complicit.â€�
On the contribution of Thich Nhat Hanh to â€œthe healing of the world:â€�
After spending time at Thich Nhat Hanhâ€™s retreat at UBC, Grayston said he appreciated the way the elderly Buddhist monk said things such as, â€œâ€™The Pure Land is now or never,â€™â€� a Buddhist form of what he also put into Christian language: â€˜The kingdom of God is now or never.â€™ I found (Thich Nhat Hanhâ€™s) ease with Christian language, as well as his bringing of Christian and Buddhist ideas into conversation with each other, very striking.â€�
On his body being buried in the â€œre-usedâ€� site of his grandfather, at Vancouverâ€™s Mountainview Cemetery:
â€œMy time is short, I donâ€™t know how short, but Iâ€™m aware of the ecological situation and I want to be ecologically responsible as far as I can.â€�
Finally, this quote, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, echoes the way Grayston chose to engage in life, society and history:
â€œTrust yourself: every heart vibrates to the iron string. Accept the place the Divine Providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connections of events.
â€œGreat men have always done so, and confided themselves child-like to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.
â€œAnd we are now men and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors obeying the Almighty effort and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.â€�