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Category Archives: Bodhisattva Action Alert

An Invitation: Random Acts of Generosity

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Over the past few weeks I’ve heard about several great initiatives that could use a bit of your help to become manifest — so I am devoting this post of The Jizo Chronicles to spreading the word. If you’re able to spare a little change for any or all of these campaigns, you’ll help to make big change in the world!

Help BPF Compassionately Confront Injustice
The Buddhist Peace Fellowship has a long history of connecting dharma with social justice, and social justice with dharma. From Turning Wheel magazine  to hands-on training programs, BPF has long offered a place to bring Buddhist teachings into conversation with the larger world. Now you can give them a hand by contributing to this campaign which will fund an in-person gathering next summer as well as continue developing the innovative and participatory curriculum called “The System Stinks,” inspired by a phrase from the beloved Robert Aitken Roshi. Campaign end date: Oct 30, 2013

Documentary Film on Zen in America
Adam Ko Shin Tebbe of Sweeping Zen is working on creating ZEN IN AMERICA, the first documentary series of its kind to thoroughly examine the history and practices of Zen in North America. The series will visit Zen temples throughout North America to show how Zen Buddhism is being expressed in our modern culture.  Adam began filming for the series in July of 2013. Over the next several years he will visit the many practice centers  in North America. You can learn more about the project and make a donation here. Campaign end date: Oct 21, 2013

Restorative Justice in Thailand
My dear friend Rose Gordon is a gifted trainer of Restorative Justice (RJ). She’s been invited to teach RJ to Asian and Muslim activists and students in Thailand. She is doing this as a volunteer and won’t receive an honorarium… and she needs to raise her own travel funds. If you’re interested in helping her out, you can find her fundraising campaign here. Restorative Justice is a way to support  those involved in conflict discover how they affect one another and how to create a stronger and healthier connection among members of community.

Thanks for whatever you can do to support any of these worthy projects… keep the good karma moving around!

~Maia

Support the Compassionate Earth Walk

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Hi everyone,

I am traveling through Thailand this month, on my way to Mae Rim to help out with the first-ever Buddhist Education for Social Transformation training. I am excited to be here, and grateful for the support I received from a number of you to make this trip! I’ll post some missives here during July to let you know how it’s going.

And a quick announcement while I’m on the road… just wanted to highlight this good cause that the Buddhist Peace Fellowship is currently fundraising for. There’s only one more week to donate, if this inspires you (the campaign closes on July 17). I’m going to contribute something… I hope you’ll join me!

For full information and to make a donation, see:  http://www.razoo.com/story/Bpf-Joins-Compassionate-Earth-Walk

Here’s an excerpt from that page:

The Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL) has been called “game over for climate change.”

Already the massive corporate extraction of tar sands and crude bitumen from Alberta, Canada (slated to be glugged through KXL to oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, for predominantly foreign export), is poisoning First Nations territories.

As Buddhists, we seek to join the ongoing resistance and stand up against this carbon monster, even as we acknowledge the real economic concerns that may cause disagreement in affected communities — some favoring pipelines, some opposing them.

Would you like to see more Buddhists bring compassionate confrontation to this movement? Please support and share!

  • 90% of funding supports Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) organizing in Alberta.
  • 10% supports the Compassionate Earth Walk.

Enacting BPF’s first step on the path to a KXL-free world, photographer and Buddhist aneeta mitha is joining the two-day Tar Sands Healing Walk, followed by the Compassionate Earth Walk for its first three days in Alberta, Canada.

Organized by Cree and Dene First Nations and Metis, including people of the ACFN, the Healing Walk bears witness to the ongoing destruction wreaked by tar sands, and calls for healing of the land. Led by Zen priest Shodo Spring, the full Compassionate Earth Walk is a 3-month pilgrimage tracing the proposed route of the pipeline into the U.S. and through the Great Plains.

Action Alert: Join with Other Buddhists to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

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There’s a lot brewing around resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline. In the last post here on TJC, Zen priest Shodo Spring wrote about her vision and plan to organize a “Compassionate Earth Walk” along the route of the proposed pipeline.

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship has organized an awesome phone conference tomorrow (Sunday), April 28, at 5 pm PST to give dharma activists a chance to learn about ways to engage with this issue at a direct level. BPF directors Katie Loncke and Dawn Haney ask:

What will be the role of Buddhists in this struggle?  What can we do to take direct action in defense of the earth, and in deep solidarity with those most impacted by the threat of the pipeline?  As Diné native organizer Firewolf Bizahaloni-Wong puts it, what’s needed are not only allies, but “accomplices.”

 

Shodo Spring will be on the call, as well as Diana Pei Wu and Jack Downey of The Ruckus Society (an organization of trainers in nonviolent direct action). Find out more about the call and watch a video with Katie and Dawn here.

HOW TO JOIN THE CALL

If you’re already a BPF member, you should have received an email message with call details. If you’re not a member but want to join so that you can access this call, visit this page. Members who can’t make the live call will receive a recording, and through BPF there will be opportunities to network with people in your area to continue the conversation and make plans.

 

 

On Finding an Appropriate Response to Climate Change

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This article was contributed by Shodo Spring, a Soto Zen priest who has organized the Compassionate Earth Walk, which will take place from July to September of this year. The walk will trace the Keystone XL route through the Great Plains. 

______________

A monk asked Yun Men, “What are the teachings of a whole lifetime?”
Yun Men said, “An appropriate response.”

For as long as I’ve been aware of climate change, I’ve been asking the question about an appropriate response. As far as I can tell, our culture is in the process of destroying itself, taking everyone else with it. When I learned permaculture, I realized that the problem was not technical – we already have the methods to sequester carbon, grow foods without fossil fuels, and generally live well by acting like the part of the planet that we are. The problem was spiritual. I am a Zen priest: that problem is my business. Still I did not know what to do. I signed petitions, learned to grow food, was active in my local Transition group, and got involved in local politics. When time allowed, I went to Washington and got arrested in front of the White House with 350.org – over the Keystone pipeline. Nothing was enough.

Read the rest of this entry

Support Buddhist Global Relief’s Walk to Feed the Hungry

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Over the next couple of weeks, there are eight “Walks to Feed the Hungry” happening all around the U.S., organized by the good folks at Buddhist Global Relief (BGR).

These walks were initiated in 2010 by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and BGR as a way to raise both awareness and funds for food-related projects around the world. He writes:

A walk like this offers us, as Buddhists, a chance to express our collective compassion in solidarity with the world’s poor. It’s also a great form of exercise and an opportunity to make new friends. To walk a few miles may not seem like a demanding act, but when we view this event in context we can see that it has far-reaching implications. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that food is a basic human right, which must be fulfilled without discrimination of any kind. Sadly, our world has fallen terribly short of this commitment. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and wars, yet close to a billion people suffer from hunger and chronic malnutrition and two billion endure serious nutritional deficiencies.

A walks like this is a great source of merit and blessings and a collective expression of conscience on the part of us Buddhists.

While some of the walks have already taken place, there are more happening the rest of October. Here are the locations and dates:

Saturday, October 13
Ann Arbor / Metro Detroit, MI
Chicago IL
New York City, NY
San Francisco CA
Willington CT

Sunday, October 14
San Jose–Mountain View CA

 

Saturday, October 20
LA–Santa Monica CA

 

Thursday, October 25
Escondido CA
You can find out more information on this page – and you can also make a donation there even if you’re not able to join a walk. Help ‘em out — the folks at BGR do great work!

Call to Action: Meditate in Solidarity with OWS

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I very rarely post twice in the same day, but I know there’s a lot of traffic coming this way because of the post I just published on Occupy Wall Street, and I want to take this opportunity to amplify a call to action from the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

The good folks at BPF are collaborating with The Interdependence Project, Off the Mat and Into the World, and Third Root Community Health Center to organize public meditations this weekend (October 15 and 16) in a show of solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

You can organize a meditation in your own community — take a look at this Facebook page that BPF has set up and use it as a template to create your own event. Then go back to the BPF FB page and list it on the wall there. I’ll check that page regularly and include those on the Calendar of Events here on the JC.

Time and time again, I’ve witnessed how a contemplative presence at major protests can offer people with a much-needed refuge… like this example from Washington, DC, several years ago. These public meditations can help to ground all our actions in love rather than fear, which is the key to sustainable social change. I’m planning to help make this happen here in my hometown of Santa Fe, and encourage you to get involved as well.

And please help spread this post… thanks!

Bodhisattva Action Alert: How to Help the People of Joplin, MO

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New York Times photo by Patrick Fallon

The photos show a devastating reality — last night, the tornado that hit Joplin, MO, was the deadliest one in the U.S. since 1953. In a city with a population of about 48,000, nearly 100 people are dead so far with many more injured.

I picked up the following information from this page on the MSNBC website… it seems to be the most comprehensive list so far on how to help:

Donations

  • The American Red Cross has set up a page for Missouri tornado and flood relief.
  • The Joplin Red Cross could use some donations. You can contact it at (417) 624-4411 or info@redcross-ozarks.org in order to find out what supplies are most necessary.
  • The Missouri SEMA has set up a donation page.
  • A list of major non-profits that operate regularly in Missouri can be found on the National Donations Management Network website. You can also call (800) 427-4626 for further information.
  • The Missouri Interfaith Disaster Response Organization is taking donations for longterm recovery efforts.
  • The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is in need of blood — particularly type O. A list of donation sites can be found here.

Volunteering

  • 211 Missouri is helping organize volunteers in the affected areas. More information can be found by calling (800) 427-462.
  • Nurses or doctors looking to help can call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross.
  • Health professionals can register to volunteer through the Show-Me Response website.

Animal rescue

  • For those in the Joplin area: Emergency Pet Center of the Four States at 7th & Illinois near the Sonic is OPEN and accepting found/injured animals. Its phones are down at this time.
  • The “Animals Lost & Found from the Joplin, Mo tornado” Facebook page is tracking lost and found pets.

Safety Information

  • The National Americorp Volunteers are setting up a national hotline for residents to call to check on loved ones. The number is (417) 659-5464 and should be active later today.
  • The American Red Cross has set up a site on which you can check in, report on the safety of others, or look for information on loved ones.
  • The “Joplin people accounted for after the storm” Facebook page is helping people track loved ones who fell out of touch during the storm.
  • The St. John’s Health System has been updating its Facebook page regularly with information relevant to the aftermath of the storm.

49 Days Later…

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A friend on Facebook reminded me that today is the 49th day since the tsunami hit northern Japan, and the ensuing nuclear plant crisis. Forty-nine days is the length of time to travel through the bardo, that liminal space after death, and marks the end of a mourning period for many Buddhist traditions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has changed his schedule in order to be in Japan tomorrow (Friday) to offer prayers.

According to this news story, nearly 26,000 people are believed to have been killed after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011.

As horrible as the natural disaster was, it’s the consequences from the man-made nuclear structures at Fukushima that are the most terrifying and traumatizing. I wonder if most of us are unable to even think about this much any more, given the ramifications of what’s happened and what will continue to unfold for hundreds of years.

How to respond? It almost feels futile to suggest anything. Even so, here are a few possibilities—

  • Pick up a copy of Quakebook – a Twitter-sourced Kindle e-book, with proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross. Quakebook is a collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by people around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it. Other contributors include Yoko Ono, William Gibson, and Barry Eisler. You can purchase a copy here through Amazon, who has made it possible for 100% of the proceeds to go directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
  • Support a Buddhist chaplain to be of service in Japan. Tenku Ruff is a Zen Buddhist monk and a trained chaplain. (I know Tenku personally; we both lived at San Francisco Zen Center in 2000-2001.) She speaks Japanese and her home temple is in the north of Japan. Tenku plans to travel to Japan to help feed refugees, offer spiritual care to people affected by the tsunami, join clean-up efforts, and assist with Buddhist ceremonies for the deceased. Your donation will allow her to pay for food and travel expenses, so as not create a further burden on the devastated areas. Because her needs are simple, she will leave all other donated funds directly with the people who need it most in Japan. You can find out how to support Tenku here.
  • Consider how we can wean ourselves away from the need for nuclear energy. I know there’s a certain camp of folks who keep insisting that nuclear power is one of our best bets for “clean” energy. I think that Chris Wilson, board chair of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, makes a good case about why this is a fallacy in this essay. I wrote more about this on my other blog, The Liberated Life Project, including some specific ideas about how to reduce our energy needs.

It’s all about reducing harm and alleviating suffering, folks. Simple, but not easy.

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