Stand Against Suffering: A Call to Action by Buddhist Teachers
“‘As long as a society protects the vulnerable among them, they can be expected to prosper and not decline.’
The Buddha, in the Mahaparinirvana Sutta
Buddhism does not align itself with any party or ideology. But when great suffering is at stake, Buddhists must take a stand against it, with loving-kindness, wisdom, calm minds, and courage.”
What stand can I take?
The purpose of the dharma, the Buddha’s teachings, is to free ourselves from ignorance. With the current escalation in overt racism and hate crimes around the world – on top of systemic social injustice – as a white person, the stand I’d like to take is in terms of better understanding my own white privilege.
Just getting beyond the initial reaction to the term “white privilege” can be quite a journey, so I’ve set up a new webpage with links to some resources that I plan to continue exploring myself over the next few months and years. I also hope they’ll be helpful for any dharma practitioners who are interested in seeing through our various biases and social constructs, in the service of deeper wisdom and compassion.
I plan to add more links to inspiring and challenging articles, and in the meantime, below are just a few items that touched me recently.
Where Will You Stand?
Rev. angel Kyodo williams 18 August 2017
“Much of what is being taught as Buddhism in America is the acceptance of a kinder, gentler suffering that does not question the unwholesome roots of systemic suffering and the structures that hold it in place. The expansive potential of the dharma to liberate us from suffering is in danger of being rendered impotent because it is held in subjugation to the very systems that it must thoroughly examine. …
No one group, community, or institution has the answer, but each of us can call forth the willingness to offer our best, claim responsibility for our worst, and fold it all into the continuous moment-to-moment practice of simply being present to what is. If your practice is not attenuating greed, hatred, and ignorance—the social expressions of which are the delusions of supremacy, racism, and oppression—then you need to change your practice.”
Clinton Pryor walks for indigenous justice in Australia
“I started this journey walking from Perth to find the truth and find a new way for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia. For the past 50 years our people have been fighting for rights, but it’s like it has just gone down the drain too many times. So, I decided to go for a big massive walk across the country to find the truth of what’s going on. What I’ve seen and experienced this way is that our people are living in developing world conditions.
In some communities there’s no fresh water. Other communities are polluted from mining, and on top of that these companies are hiring people from out in cities and towns to work in these communities, when our local people want jobs as well. What the people want in these communities is to be self-governed. They want to take care of our people themselves.”
Te Puea Marae gears up to help homeless for second winter in New Zealand
The south Auckland marae (Māori meeting house) that opened its doors to the homeless last year is about to do so again. Te Puea Marae in Mangere helped 181 people last year, using 1200 volunteers over three months. Starting on 18 July, it will again take people in – for six months.
Spokesperson Hurimoana Dennis told Morning Report this time they’ve been working hard with government agencies to provide the service.
“We believe we can still … support homeless families. We did it last year – we learnt some things, and we put people into homes. It’s an opportunity … to work with agencies, to show agencies what best practice engagement looks like for our Māori families, our communities and those who are homeless.”
Check out their facebook page for ways to help: