Gigi is reading her lover's essay, in a hurry as she dresses to meet the Wangs. Her lover has decided it's time to rejoin society, and meet the new people in town. They've been seen walking about, bowing, shaking hands, soft smiles, altogether quite congenial and happy to be here. Maybe the Wangs will get a few fine poets to make a good evening of it. Gigi is intrigued by the essay, and how serious it sounds, as if it really believed in its own ideas. "Spearheading a Buddhist revival empowering in its universalism, what started as a lay Buddhist movement now expresses the relevance of Dhamma for social change, premised on how 'the path of individual liberation [runs] through social liberation', coupled with 'the view that the layman... can and should try to reach nirvana'. Such is Ariyaratne's paradigm shift in Buddhist understanding that it is a foil to Weber's characterization of Buddhism offering salvation doctrines exemplary only for monastics; wisdom that is mystical and thus elitist; and a primarily other-worldly path to salvation that remains largely mystical even when adopted inner-worldly." Gigi picks up the page, and holds it under the light for a better read. She takes a pen and writes her comment in a large circle. "These may be observed of traditional Theravada interpretations? And Ariyaratne is thus asking more of forms of Buddhism that lack a social and this-worldly focus? Is that what you're coming to realize here?"
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of I Didn't Know Mani Was A Conceptualist, forthcoming in 2013. He has also edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters (world religions) from Harvard and fine arts masters (creative writing) from Notre Dame, he is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree Publishing Poetry Prize, among other awards. Desmond is an interdisciplinary artist, also working in clay. His commemorative pieces are housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.