The Curse of the Charmed Life | Chodo Robert Campbell

“But the curse of this charm is exile

from the unlucky, how gifts make you

deaf to the sudden shout


of a man camped in the ravine,

make you blind to the dirty face

of a woman with a cardboard sign.


Without hunger, it’s easy to be heartless.

Without hurt, you are disabled.”


Chodo Robert Campbell bases his recent Sunday morning dharma talk on the poem, “Curse of the Charmed Life” by Kim Stafford, using it to highlight moments of greed and poverty and violence in our lives. These moments are never insular, he explains, with ripples affecting the greater circles of our relationships. Thus, like the jewel at the center of Indra’s net, how we are addressing these issues within manifests itself in the world around us. 


ZenTalk Notes:


Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell is a co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and is part of the core faculty for the Buddhist Track in the Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Zen Center’s education partner, New York Theological Seminary.


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Launching this year! The Contemplative Medicine Fellowship is a twelve-month training for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who want to lead change in the culture of care. The fellowship is designed to immerse participants in the true experience of the alleviation of suffering in their personal and professional lives.


Poem: “Cursed of the Charmed Life” Kim Stafford (Singer Come From Afar)


Music: Heart Sutra by Kanho Yakushiji –  Buddhist priest and musician of the Rinzai sect and Imaji temple in Imabari, Japan. In 2003, he formed “KISSAQUO”, a songwriting duo based in Kyoto.


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