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Meditating on Wall Street [video]

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I’ve been waiting for this to happen…

Here’s a video from Day 12 of the occupation of Wall Street. The gentleman giving the contemplative pep talk is businessman and Hip Hop artist Russell Simmons, who is also an avid yoga practitioner.

I’m still wondering if there is any kind of organized Buddhist presence at these protests… if you know of anything, please leave a comment below.

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About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. Currently, I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work. I also direct the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at Upaya Zen Center along with Roshi Joan Halifax, where we forge new pathways of everyday engagement and servant leadership.

8 responses »

  1. Hi!

    I have a question about Rohatsu. It will be the first buddhist holiday that I will engage in but i still feel that it’s a little unclear so I just wan’t to make sure that I’ve got everything right.

    This year Rohatsu starts at the 1th of december and for the newt 7 days you just meditate? are you allowed to talk and do choirs?

    My Best Wishes

    Isa

    Reply
  2. This is not a group of people who do Buddhist meditation, but (Hindu) yogins doing theirs. One can tell from the hand gesture (mudra), open palm up, which is supposed to be the rishi’s (wise seer). This hand gesture alone is contrary to Buddhist philosophy as it symbolizes the union between the small individual self with the Self or Atman. Buddhism does not postulate things such as union since from the beginning there has been oneness (to cite Zhuangzi, the arch-father of taoism). Or in other words, in the Southern canon Buddha is reported to have said that the entire world can be found in our not yet 6 foot body (and not outside it). Therefore the Buddhist practitioner may show all sorts of hand gestures, but not the one shown here.

    Reply
    • Dear Bhiksuni Ratana,

      Thank you for this keen observation. I actually didn’t assume this was a Buddhist group… I only noted that there was, indeed, some meditative presence amidst the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. I really am curious to know if there are any Buddhists who have organized some kind of practice there… and look forward to hearing if anyone has information about that.

      warmly,
      Maia

      Reply
  3. I will be going to Occupy Wall Street this weekend. I am planning on bringing my zafu and doing some zazen while I am there. This is not organized, it is just me. But if anyone would like to join me, of course they are welcome! I drew back from participating in protests after taking part in the protests at the first inauguration of G. W.: there was so much anger there, so much of a sense of separation. Since then, it has been important to me that I take time to embody why I am there by doing seated meditation– to be a physical reminder of unity and stillness that is the root of the goal of so many actions against injustice.

    I will be arriving in Liberty Plaza late Friday, and staying through the weekend. I am unsure precisely how the time will unfold, but I plan tentatively to do zazen Friday night; Saturday morning, afternoon and night; and Sunday morning. Please feel free to post a reply to this message if you are interested in setting up something more formal regarding time, place and duration.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing. I commend your Dharma. Many are seeking to understand how to stand against tyranny without contributing to negative energies. This may help: http://supremeboundlessway.com/2011/10/01/occupy-right-action-–-the-spiritual-practice-social-activism/

    Reply

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