The sun has barely risen over Miami, and Dale Brown loads an orange shopping cart with everything he owns. Through the morning’s swampy heat, he pushes the cart to the edge of the railroad tracks, where he hauls the items one at a time into some overgrowth and covers them with branches. His tent from Walmart, meticulously rolled and packed. A garbage bag with clothes and a blanket. He unscrews the lid to a plastic gallon jug and empties his urine into the brush.
“You feel like an animal,” says Brown, 63.
This article is compelling in its push-pull of compassion and consequences.
As Nichiren Buddhists, we believe that all souls have innate Buddha nature and thus that each one of us can redeem ourselves; we are each that beautiful stupa, and the transcendent dharma-flower is within us. But for those of us who have committed horrible crimes, what is the path to that redemption? What should justice look like in this flawed saha world?
I don’t have the answers, as a flawed human myself. I have been pondering this question myself as the possibility of facing my rapist in a trial comes closer and closer. But I challenge each of you to consider what we, as a society, should do to strengthen our compassion for one another and create a harmonious society that protects and upholds everyone’s dignity and safety.