A gathering of New York Area Buddhist practitioners, scholars, activists and teachers
As a spiritual tradition Buddhism gives primacy to the virtues of all-embracing loving-kindness and compassion and charges us with the moral task of liberating sentient beings from suffering.
Our country’s economic and military policies increasingly inflict enormous suffering on people both here in the U.S. and throughout the world, often to benefit a tiny handful of individuals who already have immense wealth and power. War, income inequality, the targeting of vulnerable communities, and environmental degradation have become rampant, challenging our deepest moral convictions, putting our shared future at risk.
As a nation, we are at a crossroads: one road leads toward increasing authoritarianism, violence, and dangerous concentrations of wealth and power; the other leads toward the emergence of a peaceful and compassionate society dedicated to promoting justice and human dignity for all people.
Struggles between the values of equality and justice and practices of domination and supremacy over others have defined the history of our nation. Right now, we have been sliding dangerously toward the latter.
The increasing pace of governmental and nongovernmental violence in policies and practices must spur our conscience as followers of the Buddha-Dharma to act—to stand up against all that repels our moral convictions, and to strive towards a radically different vision of peace, one that centers around racial, social, gender and economic justice, the protection of the vulnerable, and the preservation of a viable natural environment.
Progressive Christians, Jews, and Muslims already have organizations in place that mobilize their followers on issues of public policy. The time has come for Buddhists to step forward as a unified community re-dedicated to the struggle for greater justice, peace, environmental care, and respect for all people.
We are working on the national and local levels to create a collaborative Buddhist progressive action network – and we need your help.
Our February gathering will focus on developing a local agenda and alliances here in the Northeast, but it is being organized in solidarity with efforts to create a national progressive alliance of American Buddhists.
In order to provide optimal conditions for a free exchange of ideas about network inclusivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, we plan to have an open and fluid process in this first gathering.
We sincerely hope you will join us in facing the challenge of creating this network. We need your voice. If you can’t come but want to help, let us know – we’d love to connect in advance, get your thoughts and keep you connected to this project.
We are many, and in action we can have a big impact as a unified Buddhist community centered in the New York area, drawing on our ancient values and applying them to the critical demands of justice, peace, and compassion.