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Category Archives: Events

How to Find Right Livelihood

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Occasionally I like to cross-pollinate here from my other, more stealth Buddhist blog, The Liberated Life Project.

I thought that you — my Jizo peeps — might enjoy knowing that I’m offering an e-course in October through the LLP called “Fall in Love with Your Work.” This is a month-long adventure into the heart of ‘right livelihood’ and how you can make it happen in your life.

If you are considering making a shift in your professional life, starting to work for yourself or starting a business, or if you need to re-align your relationship with your current job so that it feels more meaningful, “Fall in Love with Your Work” may be right up your alley. You can find out more on this page.

Registration closes this Sunday, September 29, and the course starts on October 1. I hope that some of you will join me for this!

palms together,


October Engaged Buddhist Events: Sit, Walk, and Celebrate!

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I just added three new events to the Engaged Buddhist calendar for October… one involves sitting, one involves walking, and one is pure celebration.

Full details are on the calendar page on this site; here’s the short version:

  • Oct 2: The Peace Pagoda’s 25th Anniversary in Leverett, MA
  • Oct 16: 10,000 Steps to Help Feed the Hungry organized by Buddhist Global Relief and Bhikkhu Bodhi, in South Orange, NJ
  • Oct 17: Sidewalk Sit: Contemplative Communities Against Prop L in San Francisco

July 29: Buddhist Love Delegation in New Mexico (and a lot of background story)

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This Thursday evening, July 29, I’ll be joining with my friend Russ Russell, a Zen priest with the Desert Mirror sangha, to offer a Buddhist presence at the Interfaith Vigil for Immigration Reform in Albuquerque. If any of you reading this are in or near Albuquerque, I hope you’ll join us. Send me an email at maia [at] and we’ll figure out how to find each other.

If you’ve been reading The Jizo Chronicles for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been writing about the situation in Arizona ever since the passage of SB 1070, the anti-immigrant bill. This Thursday, the bill goes into effect, which is the reason for the interfaith vigil (as well as a much larger event in Phoenix).

Why does this matter to me so much? I’ve been wondering about that. You know how some issues just grab us and won’t let go, but they don’t have that same effect on other people? This seems to be one of them. I’ve been blogging, tweeting, and Facebook-ing about this, proposing the idea of a Buddhist “Love” Delegation to Phoenix, and a few people responded. But for the most part it doesn’t seem to touch the same nerve in other (mostly white) people that I know.

Then I remembered Mrs. Sanchez. I grew up in Southern California, just outside of Los Angeles. I went to a small Catholic school where I was in the minority – a good 75% of my class was Chicano/a, and I was one of the few white girls. My best friend was Pattie Sanchez and most weekends I would hang out at Pattie’s house. Mrs. Sanchez introduced me to tamales and enchiladas, and watched over me just like I was Pattie’s sister. The Sanchez’s celebrated every milestone along with me and my parents… from First Communions to graduations to family births and family deaths. Their house was really my second home, and they were my family. Mrs. Sanchez was like my second mom.

So I think at some sub-conscious level I’ve been holding Pattie and Mrs. Sanchez and so many of the other people I grew up with in my heart as I’ve been reading about SB 1070 and the likely consequences of it. As I wrote in an earlier post, I feel impassioned to speak out about SB 1070 because:

  • It’s mean-spirited… the opposite of lovingkindness.
  • It’s a massive display of white privilege. The bill mandates law enforcement officers to determine people’s immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion.” What exactly does that mean? If you have brown skin, you’re a suspect. Hey, how about me? I might be an illegal German/Slovenian immigrant. But would anyone ever think of that? Bingo. Racial profiling.
  • It will create a climate of distrust, and will almost certainly prevent people from reporting crimes to the police out of fear of being deported.
  • It’s redundant… the federal government is already responsible for enforcing immigration laws (for better or worse). The way I see it, even if you think that the immigration system in this country needs a major overhaul, this bill is still offensive and injust. (See this excellent interview with Rev. James Ishmael Ford, a Zen priest and a Unitarian Universalist minister, for his take on the bill.)

I’ve had to go through my own process to discern how to respond to this issue, and I want to share some of it with you because I think it’s a good illustration of socially engaged Buddhist practice, at least I understand it.

My first thought was to head to Phoenix on July 29 to join the Day of Non-Compliance there. But I struggled with this plan. There were a lot of factors to consider – it would be a big trip to take in terms of time and money, not to mention the carbon footprint. I thought perhaps I could take the train from Santa Fe to Flagstaff and then get a bus down to Phoenix. All of this felt like pushing against the river, especially in light of the fact that just a few days later, I need to be on full-duty for our core training time in the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Program.

But I was willing to do this even if it felt like it was a big stretch. Then I looked at my ego… how much did I want to be in Phoenix, perhaps participating in civil disobedience, simply to satisfy my identity as “an engaged Buddhist”? I’m not immune to having a big ego and being righteous.

But then again, on the other hand, it truly did feel important to offer solidarity to people in Arizona who will be affected by this bill.

Every day of the past month I’ve gone back and forth with this, not being able to fully commit to going but also not being able to decide it was out of the question. Only in the last week did I finally become clear that I wouldn’t go to Phoenix but would instead make a donation to support Alto Arizona, the group that is doing much of the organizing around this day and immigrant rights.

The day after I made the donation, I saw the news about the Albuquerque vigil on July 29 via Twitter. Finally, the “appropriate response” took shape. Albuquerque is much closer to home – only an hour away. This was a way to take action that felt more sustainable in terms of time, money, my own energy level, and travel. I emailed Russ and she responded back almost immediately that she would join me.

Activist movements are often filled with people who are martyrs to a cause, and with the expectation that we should be martyrs to a cause or we’re not really doing anything worthwhile. I’m not sure this belief system really helps a situation. It’s not that I think we should never get out of our comfort zone… in fact I’m sure that if we don’t, no real change occurs and we never challenge our own ideas of power.

But I also believe that we need to find ways to take action that generate joy and connection, not further suffering. This, to me, is what is at the heart of socially engaged Buddhism.

I have no idea if I got it “right” on this one, but I am looking forward to being in Albuquerque this Thursday night with my dharma friend and “standing on the side of love,” as the Unitarian Universalists put it. Maybe we’ll see you there.

Symposium for Engaged Buddhism Coming Soon!

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In just a little more than a month, the good folks at the Zen Peacemaker Community will be hosting a fantastic Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism up in the pastoral beauty of Montague, MA.

The dates are August 9 – 14, and speakers include Roshi Joan Halifax, Roshi Bernie Glassman, Hozan Alan Senauke, Sarah Weintraub, Daniel Goleman, and Paula Green… there are many more great people on the schedule.

Here’s an invitation: I’m not able to be at the symposium, but if any readers of the Jizo Chronicles are going and would like to write some dispatches from the event, I’d be happy to publish them here. Please contact me at maia [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know if you’re interested in serving as our reporter.

Another World is Possible: Spiritual Activism at the Detroit USSF

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Another world is possible
Another US is necessary

Something amazing is about to happen in Detroit. From June 22 – 26, thousands of people will gather in that city to connect, to share ideas, and to inspire each other toward a better world. This is the purpose of the US Social Forum — one of the nation’s largest grassroots gatherings of activists and organizers.

This is the way organizers describe the forum:

The US Social Forum (USSF) is a movement building process. It is not a
 conference but it is a space to come up with the peoples’ solutions to the 
economic and ecological crisis. The USSF is the next most important step in our
 struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational,
 diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and
 changes history.

This is the second time that the forum has happened in the U.S.; the first was in Atlanta in 2007. (The World Social Forum is the older, bigger sister to the US forums.) That year, a small group of spiritual activists offered workshops and contemplative spaces. This year, the number has grown dramatically — perhaps a sign that compassion-based activism is taking root in social change movements, thanks to organizations like stone circles and others. The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is also getting involved this time around as well.

Here’s a guide to events that fall under the category of spiritual/transformative practices at this year’s forum, compiled by stone circles:

Faith and Spirituality led by a local committee on the ground in Detroit with support from organizers around the country, including stone circles and Word and World.

~Sacred Space Canopy with programming every day from 10 am – 5 pm including reflection, ritual, prayer and dialogue as well as space for individual practice.
~Interfaith Service on Friday morning, as a prelude to a march and rally at Chase Bank
~People’s Movement Assembly, “The Faith Community from Internal Reflection to External Action”
~Many workshops on topics such as nonviolence, self-care, Sabbath economics, street retreats, the spiritual left and much more.

Transformative Practice and Organizing led by a group of organizations from around the country including Center for Transformative Change, Movement Strategy Center, Rockwood Leadership Program, Social Justice Leadership and stone circles!

~Transformative Practice Canopy with continuous practice offerings, workshops and more
~People’s Movement Assembly on Defining Transformation for Social Change
~Daily morning practice in Cobo Hall, beginning with 20 minutes of quiet meditation and followed by a complementary practice for 30-40 minutes.
~Many workshops on topics such as art and creative practice; somatics, trauma and transformation; transformative organizing, fearless meditation and more.

Health and Healing Justice, led by a collective of individuals and organizations in Detroit and from across the country including Generation5, Kindred and others.

~Healing Justice Practice Space with individual and collective healing sessions
~People’s Movement Assembly on Healing Justice and Liberation
For more info, see Kindred’s website!

In addition, Sarah Weintraub, executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, will offer a workshop on “Caring for Ourselves and the World: Practices for Self-Compassion and Self-Care.”

If you’re able to get to the USSF, by all means do — and please tell us about your experience. If you can’t make it there, I hope you can take heart in knowing about this amazing event and the inspiring people who are presenting and participating there.

A Year-ful of Engaged Dharma

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Something that I noticed during my days editing Turning Wheel for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship was that there didn’t seem to be one place that aggregated all the socially engaged Buddhist events going on. And there are lots.

I’ve already collected a few of them on this blog, and I just did a search and found more. So, in the hopes that this will be of benefit, here’s a calendar of some of the major events for the year. Please add more in the comments section, and give us details like when, where, and a link for more information.


Feb 12 – 14: Ready from Within A Quaker/Buddhist interfaith program exploring the spiritual dimensions of social action. Where: Oxfordshire, UK. More info:

March 2 – May 10: Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future The monks and nuns of the Nipponzan Myohoji Peace Pagoda will lead a Walk for a Nuclear Free Future to offer prayer and call attention to the United Nation’s review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Where: Their route will take them from Buffalo, NY, to New York City. Click here for more info.

March 7 – June 1: ZENVC Ango: Practicing Everyday Life. ZENVC Ango is a three-month intensive in the fire of your daily life, offering deep study and reflection, skillful means, and lots of support for those who respond to this calling. Where: A virtual practice period done you’re your home, with a concluding 7-day retreat in North Carolina. Click here for more info.

March 18 21: Buddhism Without Borders. The Institute of Buddhist Studies hosts this conference on contemporary developments of Buddhism in the West. Where: Berkeley, CA More info:

March 23 24: The Dharma of Living Systems and the Work That Reconnects A workshop with Joanna Macy. Where: Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, NM   More info:

April 1 – 4: Zen Peacemakers Street Retreat. Where: Washington DC More info:

April 11 – 16: Bearing Witness Retreat in Rwanda. In Partnership with Memos: Learning From History and many other Rwandan NGO partners, the Peacemaker Institute is proud to announce the first Bearing Witness Retreat in Rwanda. More info:

May 1: Fifth Annual Buddhist Women’s Conference: Dharma in Motion. Offers an opportunity for Buddhists to share experiences, to deepen our spiritual lives, and to discuss the Dharma and its action in our lives. Where: Chicago, IL  More info:

May 1 – 5: Zen Peacemakers Retreat on Bearing Witness to the Greek Refugee Issues. Where: Athens and Lesbos, Greece. More info:

May 1 – May 10: Sustaining Resistance, Empowering Renewal This workshop offers a range of tools, collective and personal, which can make our activism more effective. Where: in a remote and wild valley in the Catalan Pyrenees. Click here for more info.

May 12 – 15: Zen Peacemakers Street Retreat. Where: Zurich, Switzerland. More info:

Aug 5 – 8: Dharma at the Edge: Training in Socially Engaged Buddhism and Servant Leadership A workshop with Roshi Joan Halifax, Sensei Fleet Maull, and guest Jimmy Santiago Baca. Where: Santa Fe, NM  More info:

Aug 9 – 15: Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism. A major gathering of Western Socially Engaged Buddhist activists, academics and sponsors. Speakers include Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Joan Halifax, Hozan Alan Senauke, Paula Green, Frank Ostaseski, and more. Where: Montague, MA  More info:

Nov 1 – 5: Bearing Witness Auschwitz Retreat Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers are returning for the 15th year to the old site of the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Oswiecim, Poland. More info:

March 2 – May 10: Walk for a Nuclear-free Future

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The monks and nuns of the Nipponzan Myohoji Peace Pagoda will lead a Walk for a Nuclear Free Future from March 2 to May 2, 2010, to offer prayer and call attention to the United Nation’s review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The walk begins in the terrority of the Six Nations near Buffalo, NY, where nuclear waste and nuclear weapons, have been important issues, and continues to New York City. Walkers will cover more than 700 miles on the route; some of the cities on the route include Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca, and Albany.

You can support the walk by joining for an hour, a day, or for the entirety.  You can also support the walkers by organizing a community potluck, a sharing circle, a visit to  your mayor, a place for walkers to sleep, or a coverage by the local media.  For more information, contact:

Jun Yasuda, Nipponzan Myohoji Grafton Peace Pagoda, Phone: 518-658-9301
Jules Orkin, Phone: 201-566-8403    Email:

You can download a PDF with more details about the walk here: Walk for a Nuclear Free Future

Jan 7-11, 2010: Mindfulness Retreat with Ouyporn Khuankaew

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This retreat, to be held in Chiang Mai, is organized by the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice, of which Ouyporn Khuankaew is a co-founder. Khuankaew is a remarkable Thai woman who addresses gender-based violence through her Buddhist practice. In 2006, she was named one of the “Outstanding Women in Buddhism.”

According to the  IWPPJ website,

This 5 day retreat, in a peaceful and quiet village setting, will cultivate wellness and awareness of the body, mind and spirit through:

  • Meditation,  incorporating various meditation techniques and mindfulness practices throughout the day
  • An introduction to socially engaged Buddhist teachings
  • Experiential sharing and personal reflection
  • Daily meditative yoga practice
  • Ample time for rest and relaxation
  • Simple living close to nature

You can find out more information about this retreat here.

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