From a Buddhist perspective, this is the great conundrum of our lives: we are simultaneously one vast living organism and a distinct living person. And we are vastly more comfortable with those whom we perceive to be like ourselves, at least on the surface. There are powerful barriers to recognizing that we and others share the same universal “self.”
Rev. O’Connor was ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen tradition of Buddhism in 1994 and received dharma transmission from Tozen Akiyama in 1999, after training extensively in both Japan and the US. She is currently Priest Emerita at the Milwaukee Zen Center. Rev. O’Connor spent 16 years leading Buddhist programs within the state prison system and continues to work with inmates in correspondence seminars. She has two sons, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.