circa 1978

circa 1978

 

Padre Mu

As a young teenager in the mid-sixties, Padre Mu discovered a mode of consciousness in the writings of the Beats that offered a new way to experience life; one of ecstasy, magic, free love and community. Cannabis use was a constant theme among these writers and they sang its praises, despite the lies and propaganda equating its use with deviance, criminality and addiction. The Beats had been introduced to cannabis by their association with jazz musicians and black culture. The Beats, in turn, introduced it to Padre.

It was at Woodstock, while getting high with a half million other youths, that Mu first heard the great bands from the Bay that changed the world: Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Creedence, Santana, and many others. A crowd of half a million kids, all high and not one incident of violence. It was obvious someone was lying to us, not only about Vietnam, but about cannabis as well.

It was the alarm clock that woke up a generation to a greater reality - Padre Mu is no stranger to the battles waged in the streets for a new world. He was tear gassed at the Bobby Seale/Black Panther trial in the early 70s, at the anti-WTO protest in D.C. following the Battle of Seattle, again at the Oakland Occupy and again at a handful of other events and marches where he stood up against injustice.

In 1983, Padre quit alcohol and began the next part of his journey, entering and studying at a Zen center where he eventually was ordained as a Zen teacher. It was here that he was given the Buddhist name “Mu”, meaning “nothingness.” He is forever striving to hold no opinions: to be truly open.

Mu is also a long time resident of Oakland and worked for years running a bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, where he was a visible presence and often consulted for advice on spiritual and emotional matters. His Latino friends began calling him "Padre" in recognition of his unofficial role and "Padre Mu" was born.