October 17

Ep. 47: Embracing Our Shared Humanity with Pamela Ayo Yetunde


Reading time:  minutes 

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, pastoral counselor and author of "Casting Indra's Net," discusses the importance of recognizing our interconnectedness and cultivating ethical commitment towards one another. She emphasizes the need to respect others' beliefs and engage in dialogue, even with those who hold different views. Ayo Yetunde also highlights the role of activism in advocating for change and justice, while reminding us to be responsible for the consequences of our actions. She encourages starting locally and building connections with our neighbors to foster empathy and understanding. Overall, her message is one of embracing our shared humanity and working towards a more compassionate society.
Pamela Ayo Yetunde, pastoral counselor and author of "Casting Indra's Net"

Pamela Ayo Yetunde

In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Pamela Ayo Yetunde, a pastoral counselor, author, and co-founder of the Buddhist Justice Reporter. Our conversation centered around the central theme of her book, "Casting Indra's Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community," and the importance of embracing our interconnectedness and cultivating compassion for one another.

Embracing Interconnectedness

Pamela's book emphasizes the idea that we are all interconnected, and our thoughts, behaviors, and actions have an impact on others. She highlights the importance of recognizing this interconnectedness and cultivating an ethical commitment to the well-being of all. Pamela states, "When one is not well, we are not well. When we are well, that holds the potential for the healing of others."

Responding to Unrest and Division

Pamela wrote "Casting Indra's Net" during a time of great unrest and division, particularly in the wake of the George Floyd protests and the COVID-19 pandemic. She shares that she was heartbroken by the violence and the ease with which we turn against one another. Pamela questions the effectiveness of such actions and calls for a different approach—one that focuses on collaboration and working together across our differences.

Compassion for Those with Different Views

One of the most challenging aspects of embracing our interconnectedness is having compassion for those who hold views that differ from our own. Pamela acknowledges the difficulty of this task, particularly when dealing with views rooted in racism, white supremacy, or homophobia. She suggests that we try to understand that each person comes to their belief system through their own personal history and experiences. By recognizing this, we can respect the person while still disagreeing with their beliefs.

Nonviolent Communication and Respectful Dialogue

When engaging with individuals who hold different views, Pamela emphasizes the importance of nonviolent communication and respectful dialogue. She references Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a valuable tool for expressing our truth without judgment or blame. Pamela encourages individuals to respectfully make their concerns known and make requests without expecting them to be honored. This approach allows for open and honest communication while maintaining respect for one another.

Balancing Safety and Engagement

In situations where our safety may be at risk, Pamela advises individuals to prioritize their well-being and remove themselves from potentially harmful situations. While it is important to engage with others and foster understanding, personal safety should always be a top priority. Each person must make their own decision based on their unique circumstances.

The Role of Activism in Community

Pamela is a co-founder of the Buddhist Justice Reporter, an organization that aims to shed light on human rights abuses and advocate for change. She believes that activism plays a crucial role in community by raising awareness and inspiring empathy. Activism can take many forms, from peaceful protests to advocating for legislative change. Pamela encourages individuals to exercise their rights and work towards a more just and compassionate society.

Upgrading the Golden Rule

In her book, Pamela suggests upgrading the Golden Rule to treat others the way they need to be treated. She emphasizes the importance of seeing the potential in each person and treating them with respect and dignity. By focusing on the best in others, we can inspire them to be their best selves and create a more harmonious and compassionate world.

Casting Indra's Net: Fostering Spiritual Kindship & Community

Building Spiritual Kinship and Community

Pamela's book explores the concept of spiritual kinship and the power of community. She encourages individuals to find their people—those who resonate with their vision and inspire them to be their best selves. Building a supportive community allows for personal growth and collective impact. Pamela suggests starting locally, engaging with neighbors, and fostering connections based on shared values and aspirations.

Trusting Lived Experience and Reconnecting

In conclusion, Pamela urges individuals to trust their lived experience and reconnect with their neighbors and communities. She highlights the importance of stepping away from social media and engaging in face-to-face interactions to truly understand and empathize with one another. By starting where we are and embracing our shared humanity, we can work towards a more compassionate and inclusive society.

As we navigate a world filled with division and unrest, Pamela Ayo Yetunde's insights offer a path towards healing and understanding. By recognizing our interconnectedness and embracing compassion, we can foster spiritual kinship and build communities that uplift and support one another. Let us take the first step towards a more harmonious world by starting where we are and engaging with our neighbors and communities. Together, we can create a future rooted in empathy, respect, and love.

Episode Show Notes

About The Guest: 
Pamela Ayo Yetunde is a pastoral counselor, author, and co-founder of the Buddhist Justice Reporter. She is known for her work in fostering spiritual kinship and community, as well as her advocacy for social justice and human rights. Pamela has written several books, including "Casting Indra's Net: Fostering Spiritual Kinship and Community" and "Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom."

Pamela Ayo Yetunde discusses the central theme of her book, "Casting Indra's Net," which is the interconnectedness of all beings and the ethical commitment we should have towards one another. She reflects on the unrest and division in society, particularly during the George Floyd protests and the pandemic, and emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding across differences. Pamela also explores the role of activism in creating change and the need to respect and engage with those who hold different views. She encourages listeners to start where they are and foster connections within their local communities.

Key Takeaways:

  • We are all interconnected, and our thoughts and actions impact others. Cultivating an ethical commitment towards one another is essential for the well-being of all.
  • It is possible to respectfully engage with people who hold different views, recognizing their humanity while still advocating for change.
  • Activism plays a crucial role in raising awareness and advocating for legislative change, but it should be approached with empathy and nonviolent communication.
  • Building a sense of community starts with connecting with our neighbors and engaging in meaningful conversations and interactions.
  • Trusting our lived experiences and fostering empathy can help bridge divides and create a more compassionate society.


  • "We are interconnected, and therefore our thoughts, behaviors, and concerns impact others in particular ways." - Pamela Ayo Yetunde
  • "If we can remember that we are interconnected, we may also cultivate a certain ethical commitment towards one another for the well-being of all of us." - Pamela Ayo Yetunde
  • "We can respect the person, the body of the person. We can respect that they came to their beliefs through a particular journey without having to agree." - Pamela Ayo Yetunde
  • "Start where you are. Trust your lived experience of the people in your neighborhood." - Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Pamela Ayo Yetunde's Website

Listen to the Full Episode


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