My name is Bryan Wagner. I want to take a second and talk about the book. The cover is above. As you can see the layout is simple and direct. I feel I need to offer clarification and grounding on my background and how the book appeared in my life.
I started this journey many years ago. I have been through, like most of us, many changes. A lot of damage was sustained by myself and others around me. I was unable to settle into any inner peace and “Hardly anyone wants to grow up” always seemed to apply to me. The way I interpret “growing up” is in the sense of taking responsibility for our own lives and direction. I think it’s what attracted me towards Zen at a young age, although I wasn’t prepared emotionally to embrace that path in commitment until much later.
I use the word Dharma in the Hindu sense to mean wisdom. A People’s Dharma because I am so grounded in the wisdom that all of us have and are continuing to develop. Visions’s of a People’s Wisdom because I think that sentence stated a need for what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to share and promote a People’s Dharma.
I have always had a distinct attraction towards the spiritual. I was fascinated by that fragment of the human journey built on so many platforms and concepts. I studied Buddhism, Tao, Shaman, Baptist, and Catholic paths. I engage in Zen and Sufi practices and studied the fourth way. I dove deeply and fell in love with J. Krishnamurti, Anthony D’Mello, and Nisargadatta’s teachings. I read and studied the Hindu religion, I read and discussed Kabbala. For decades where ever I traveled I learned. I read continuously and attend retreat after retreat.
I went to Still Point in Detroit to sit and listen to Geri Larkin’s teaching and participated in retreats. Geri Larkin is super wise. For a while I traveled throughout the Midwest, California, and Pennsylvania, listening to Cheri Huber teaching. I have attend retreats at the Zen Monastery Peace ‘Center in California, in Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. I am drawn to the message that Cheri and Ashwinni deliver. My projection is that they and the Monks are deeply engaged and compassionate concerning what they teach. It’s very strong and designed to diminish suffering and support compassionate awareness. How could I not love that? Last years “Fear” retreat opened my heart.
Many nights were spent in search of Dharma teachings. Many nights and days spent in the hills of North Carolina and the shores of the Great Lakes thinking and solidifying my thoughts and feelings about Dharma. I learned that some of my best contemplation’s and drop in ideas were always when out on the trails or seeking in the campfires and skies.
Finally, I made a decision several years ago to pursue Dharma with a singular focus on a full-time basis. I let go of my concerned that people would think that I was trying to present as special. I’m not. I’m just another human attempting to grow awareness and embrace the spiritual. I make mistakes, lose sight of my goals, have the same human shit going on as everybody. I am not a scholar but am an autodidact who has passion and can only act as a conduit for Dharma.
I love the challenges that sharing Dharma and being a guide offer. I embrace the idea of sharing the wisdom teachings regardless of what institution or formalized setting from which they have evolved. I noticed that, for the most part, all the wisdom teachings started out as a simple exchange between those who shared and the people who needed the information. There was no multiple layers between the message and those wanting to hear it. I love the amount of wisdom that comes to me from others when we question and share what we know.
Dharma does not belong to the priviledged few.
Nor to the rich and powerful.
Dharma holds no secrets and no mysteries.
Dharma is here in front of us.
DHARMA BELONGS TO ALL OF US!
A criticism is that I haven’t dug deeply enough in anything to become proficient of technique or knowledge. I have drilled deeply but have chosen to not become indoctrinated to the point that I think I know anything. I don’t memorize information for peoples entertainment or for social power. Nor do I have any interest in becoming conditioned by systems or rituals. My journey consists of using my passion to reduce the suffering we all experience, not add to it. Most of us have wisdom but have been conditioned to react to life from a conditioned standpoint and not from genuine response. The Dharma gets lost so Conditioned Mind can stay in complete focus.
We are conditioned to believe that only special people have wisdom. I see that as a simplistic way to protect hierarchies who’s main concern is to keep the power structure. I don’t come from a place of conclusion about wisdom. We hear wisdom from great known teachers, the wind, sun, and moon, from the written teachings, animals, shamans, our friends and family, and people we meet on the street. Wisdom is as varied as the number of beings, animals, and things on this planet. If we are aware, we find that almost every single interaction we have provides Dharma. The only question is are we open to accepting what is already there? I want to share what we have with everyone.
The value of wisdom teachings is only as great as our ability to understand and activate the message. My path lies in the actions of Dharma not just the understanding. Not all Dharma is transmitted in words and thinking. We need to be open to possibility.
I often hear from practitioner’s that are steeped in an institutionalized path is that I have do not possess any formal status or claims of lineage or direct transmission. I don’t care. Honest. It puts me in good company. If you read and pay attention to historical precedence you see what I mean. If you dive deeply into the current wisdom being offered it comes in all shapes and forms.
We are so hung up on the process of being taught until some authority approves of us we have become numb to our own ability and sense of direction. We are losing so much wisdom from everyone because they fear, from a perspective of conditioning, that they are not capable of living and sharing Dharma. More bullshit. I learn as much listening to Sangha as I have anyone else. I hear brilliant words and thoughts from the people I sit with all the time. The point is we are receiving stations for wisdom, all we need to do is remember to breathe, be aware, listen, and accept.
So, after a long time writing, Visions’s of a People’s Dharma appeared. I know that it’s a work in progress and a living document. The book is based on what I see as truthful spiritual practices and concepts. Things that I believe in and keep in my life. This book has Buddhist, Tao, and Shaman based Dharma.
I give examples of Zen, Shaman, and Gautama Buddha’s teachings and I pull a little from a lot of different sources. My goal was to explain and give examples of how the Dharma would work in everyday life. I know that focus on wisdom can diminish suffering and lead to a fuller engaged life. There is an index of books at the end that I find important if one desires to explore more Dharma.
My vision is to start a network that is built, not on the old models or conditioned mind, but one that speaks of the freedom from conditioning and past re-cycling of static concepts that build hierarchy and power systems. A more truthful People’s dharma. One that we can all share regardless of religious affiliation or belief. Part psychology, part spiritual, and part manifesto for human spiritual freedom.
The book is meant to be read a little at a time. And, in no particular order. I am using it to help with talks and workshops. I am hoping you will read the book, find things that will enrich you, and give me feedback. I believe we can become free to develop individual paths and integrate Dharma with our lives.
Be well my friends.
My contact information is
248-882-1301 Phone, Please leave contact info.
firstname.lastname@example.org E address