Buddhists Responding is a support group that formed around concerns for social justice and care of the environment after the 2016 presidential election. Its purpose is to bring a dharma perspective to social engagement and support action that aligns with our values and commitment to the Zen path of wisdom and compassion. Buddhists Responding has an online google group and has met several times and marched together in the Women’s March in Eugene. BR is currently sponsoring a four part workshop series on diversity with our sister sangha in Corvallis that begins on March 12th and goes throughout the year.

Excellent Diversity Resources for Buddhists

If you would like to be included in the google group, please email us with your address.

What does it mean to confront in social/environmental injustice from a place of practice?

As Zen Buddhists, we commit to:

1. Seek Real Understanding – Beyond simplistic blame, we take time to find out about the many influences through reliable sources that enter into particular events of injustice or environmental harm that touch us. Know we will never have the whole picture. Notice that these conditions of greed, hate and delusion are not “out there” but are found as seeds in all of us.

2. Cultivate Resilience and Safety Within – We work with our own fears and perceived threats rather than project them outwards and rely on the strength of not knowing. When we feel safe in ourselves, we can approach others who think and feel and act differently than us while maintaining our own integrity. 

3. Follow the PreceptsWe ask this: What does it mean here to cease from harm? What is cultivating the good? While the precepts are impossible to keep perfectly, particularly in the social sphere, ewe try to speak the truth, not be deluded by anger, and avoid praising the self and disparaging others as a means of influence.

4. Drop the DivideWhere ever we notice we have made an “other” – an individual or a group that garners our contempt or judgement as being lesser, we work to maintain respect in all beings fundamental value while engaging in constructive conflict.

5. Respond Authentically While no response is off the table, we particularly value the response that is most intimate, inspired, life affirming, connected to the heart and that seeks to connect others to their awakened mind. Letting go of guaranteed outcomes, or evaluations of large and small, we bring our best compassion (for all) and wisdom to our voices.