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.
If you would like to be included in the Google group, please email us with your address.
What does it mean to confront social/environmental injustice from a place of practice?
As Zen Buddhists, we commit to:
1. Seek Real Understanding — Beyond simplistic blame, we research reliable sources, knowing that we will never see the whole picture. We notice that 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 outward and rely on the strength of not knowing. When we feel safe in ourselves, we can approach others who think, feel and act differently than us while maintaining our own integrity.
3. Follow the Precepts — We 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, we 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 Divide — Where ever we notice we have made an “other” — an individual or a group that garners our contempt or judgment as being lesser — we work to maintain respect in the value of all beings 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 one that seeks to connect others to their awakened mind. Letting go of guaranteed outcomes or evaluations large and small, we bring our best compassion (for all) and wisdom to our voices.