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Category Archives: Bodhisattva Action Alert

The Yes List

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United We Dream vigil, McAllen, TX

United We Dream vigil, McAllen, TX

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about despair and hope… how do we move from one to the other, how do we not lose hope when so many terrible things are going on — from our own neighborhood to all around the global community. In this age of nearly unlimited internet connectivity, we hear about these tragedies in nearly real time.

Earlier today I posted this on Facebook:

135 killed in Gaza, no end in sight… kids from Central America and Mexico locked up in Texas warehouses… journalists sentenced to 10 years in prison in Burma… 

In the middle of my comfortable life it can be easy to ignore all this and more. The practice: Not turning away.

Not turning away is not easy, but it is what I understand to be the foundation of our bodhisattva vows. Being present to the truth of suffering, connecting with compassion inside of me, and then taking loving action from that place.

After I put up that post, I thought a lot about how I could respond in each of those cases. Initially I felt a sense of hopelessness, of how daunting it is to even consider addressing any one of those. But thanks to that very internet connectivity that made me aware of these situations, I was able to find what some other folks are doing to respond. And so was born… The Yes List. Who knows… maybe this will become a regular feature on The Jizo Chronicles. 

Gaza

YES! The Open Letter crafted by Jewish Voice for Peace… eloquent and powerful. A call for compassion for all sides, at the same time recognizing the root causes of the violence and calling for Israel to end the illegal occupation of Palestine. I encourage you to sign the letter. And let us know what other creative and generative responses you know of to this crisis.

Refugee Crisis

YES! The good work of United We Dream, an organization pushing to re-frame the situation with the children in Texas as a refugee crisis, not an “illegal immigrant problem.” UWD has organized a three-day vigil in McAllen, TX, to raise awareness of this issue and they’ve got a petition you can sign to urge President Obama to take action to protect all immigrant families.

Burmese Journalists

YES! This piece of news just came to my attention in the last day, and I am more attuned to it because I’m here in Thailand right now and there are seven Burmese women in the group I am currently helping to facilitate. With this being a very recent development, I couldn’t find an immediate response. But I am betting that Amnesty International will be an excellent resource, as it always is in cases like this. Keep an eye on them — they’ve already got an article on the situation posted here.

 

BONUS YES!

And for good measure, here’s one more to add to the Yes List, a creative response that I just love. A group of folks in Dallas, TX, took to the streets on Friday to demonstrate for their right to open carry…. guitars. Yep, guitars instead of guns. Amen.

Radical Dharma Activism in Thailand

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Radical Dharma Activism in Thailand
The author, along with the 2013 BEST participants and teachers

The author, along with the 2013 BEST participants and teachers

Ouyporn Khuankaew and Ginger Norwood are two Buddhist feminist activists based in Thailand who co-founded the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice (IWP) in 2002. Through IWP, Ouyporn and Ginger and a wonderful team of activists offer workshops on anti-oppression feminism, collective leadership, gender and diversity, nonviolent direct action, and peacebuilding — all based in dharma teachings and practice.

Last summer, IWP launched a new training program called BEST — the Buddhist Education for Social Transformation. BEST is an innovative yearlong course focused on transformation of individuals, communities, the environment, and the world. The program is open to anyone seeking a Buddhist perspective in his or her approach to personal development, social justice, and social change work.

I taught a course at the 2013 BEST session and have been invited again for this year. I’ll offer a workshop on the Mandala of Socially Engaged Buddhism and will help facilitate other parts of the training along with Ouyporn and Ginger.

I’m running a small Indiegogo campaign to help me with some of the costs of doing this — I’d be so grateful if you would consider making a small contribution to help me get to Thailand again this year. And my biggest thanks to those of you who have already made a contribution to this fund. Thank you also for helping to spread the word about BEST to others who may be interested in applying for future years.

palms together,

Maia

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!
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