At the edge of a tall cliff, Bhadda was confronted by the man she had just saved from execution. A man she thought she had been in love with. A man she thought was in love with her. But no. All he was interested in were her jewels. He called her a fool and ordered her to remove her outer robe and wrap her jewels inside.
Without hesitation, Bhadda requested one wish before she died: that she be allowed to embrace him. He agreed. Bhadda first embraced him from the front. And then, after embracing him from behind, pushed him off the cliff.
This was just one story I discovered in First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening by Susan Murcott. Breathtaking, no?
The stories in this book made such an impression on me that I was inspired to uncover the stories of modern Buddhist women. Unfortunately, I haven't found that many. I mean, they're out there, don't get me wrong, but I was disappointed to find that the number of men telling their stories far outweighs the number of women telling theirs.
So. I created a project: Interview modern Buddhist women and share their stories.
For my first interview I wanted to speak with the Executive Director of The Interdependence Project (IDP), Kimberly Brown. Kim has been practicing for about 6-7 years and moved into the role of Executive Director of IDP, a nonprofit organization offering a multi-lineage and secular approach to Buddhism, a little less than a year ago. She sat down with me recently in New York City and allowed me to ask her all kinds of questions about her experience on the path and her work at the IDP.