The mission of the ZSS Engaged Buddhism committee is to seek ways to apply the teachings of wisdom and compassion to social justice, political, environmental and economic issues to alleviate global suffering. In our practice we strive to deepen our experience of the interconnectedness of all life, and arising from this we seek to work for peace and well-being not just for ourselves but for our communities and for the world. At this time, we are primarily devoting our efforts in six directions:
INCLUSION. We seek to promote radical acceptance for all beings. This begins with working for inclusion in our own sangha, extending a warm welcome to all who come without exception. Whatever your age, race, ethnic and cultural background, gender and sexual orientation, religious affiliation or any other variable, we value your participation. We also extend this work beyond the life of our sangha. We’ve compiled a list of anti-racism web resources to begin this work.
ECONOMIC INEQUALITY AND INJUSTICE. We participate in efforts to end poverty and bring about economic justice. We are committed to fighting against the myth of scarcity, which says that there isn’t enough to go around. We are dedicated to fighting against the narrative that the poor and suffering are simply poor and suffering because “they made poor choices,” or because “poverty is inevitable.” We support and amplify the narratives of the poor, the dispossessed, and the disaffected. The Zen Studies Society board has formally endorsed the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival; we encourage joining with other sangha members to engage with the campaign. Read more…
CLIMATE CRISIS. We must join efforts to combat the deadly effects of global warming and other human-caused assaults on Mother Earth. We are committed to decreasing and ultimately reversing these assaults, through learning the wisdom of the indigenous people and following the recommendations of climate scientists. We know that change must begin with each of us, with our own actions and choices moment by moment, and from the interconnectedness realized in our Buddhist practice. We pledge to find ways to encourage such change in others near and far, in positions ordinary and powerful.
VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND INTERRUPTION. We seek to address the cycles of violence and hatred that have such a pervasive grip on our society. These must be understood in the context of economic injustice, which fans xenophobia and racism. We support local community-based efforts to prevent violence, including the violence perpetrated by police officers against People of Color. We will work toward the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, and support its victims. We will learn about and join intervention efforts against gang-related violence, often based on retaliation, such as the work in Syracuse of OGs Against Violence. Check out a study that looks at such efforts.
HUNGER. There is more than enough food produced in the world to feed everyone on the planet. Yet more than 820 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night. The United Nations has declared the global hunger emergency the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. Global responses to hunger require that the entire world—its people, governments, and private businesses—need to play a pivotal role in the process. Understanding the key factors driving hunger is equally crucial—we need to look at the ways in which corporate profits are seen as more important than human beings and the health of the planet. We seek to join with others who are engaged in working towards the global goal of sustainable development, which can lead to Zero Hunger.
COVID-19. We seek to address the needs of vulnerable segments of society such as front-line workers, elderly people, those who have pre-existing medical conditions, are economically disadvantaged, unemployed, living alone, terminally ill, or dealing with the death of a loved one. In addition, we offer our support to our Chinese and Asian brothers and sisters, who have been verbally and physically assaulted during this pandemic. Read More…
We invite you to sign-up for our free and recurring Wednesday evening discussion and study groups:
- Engaged Buddhism Dharma Discussion Group with Jifū Devyani Sadh – (First Wednesdays) at 7 pm ET. Register here
- Racial Solidarity Sangha with Kanchi Lucía Oliva Hennelly and Zuiken Inago Scott Rebellon – (Second Wednesdays) at 7 pm ET. Register here
- Poor People’s Campaign Study Group with Yūki Eric Michels – (Third Wednesdays) at 7 pm ET. Register here
- Engaged Buddhism Open Meeting on Voter Encouragement with Rev. Jikyo Sensei and Dr. Michael Fayne – September 30 at 7 pm ET. Register here
Check out our compiled recommendations for voter encouragement along with anti-racism web resources and books. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and to connect with other Engaged Buddhists.
Engaged Buddhism Committee
Jifū Devyani Sadh | Yūki Eric Michels | Rev. Jikyo Bonnie Shoultz | Michael Fayne