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Practice in Transformative Action: Bay Area training program

Practice in Transformative Action: Bay Area training program

Mushim Ikeda, contributor to BPF's The System Stinks curriculum, is launching another year of the Practice in Transformative Action (PiTA 2) yearlong program at East Bay Meditation ...

BPF Summer Gathering Schedule

BPF Summer Gathering Schedule

The BPF Summer Gathering will bring together Buddhists and activists from over 20 states and multiple countries, for dialogues, meditation, and training in nonviolent direct action ...

ACTION ALERT: This Workers’ Center Was Told To Cut Ties With Marriage Equality Allies, Or Lose $75,000. Show Them They Did The Right Thing.

ACTION ALERT: This Workers’ Center Was Told To Cut Ties With Marriage Equality Allies, Or Lose $75,000. Show Them They Did The Right Thing.

"In this place, everyone is welcome." These were the words of Romeo Sosa, the Executive Director of VOZ this week, in front of the small trailer in southeast Portland, Oregon, wher ...

Systemic Youth Suffering: The Third Noble Truth and the Possibility of Collective Liberation

Systemic Youth Suffering: The Third Noble Truth and the Possibility of Collective Liberation

[TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains information that may be disturbing to survivors of sexual assault.]   “For Warmth” by Thich Nhat Hanh (from Zen Poems)   I hold my fa ...

Ouch! Systemic Suffering and The Third Noble Truth

Ouch! Systemic Suffering and The Third Noble Truth

“Great is the matter of birth and death, quickly passing, passing, gone. Awake, awake, each one, awake. Don’t waste this life.” This is the message written on the Han, a wooden ins ...

Hoping To Survive In Gaza

Hoping To Survive In Gaza

“I don't know what else to say. I think we are going to die. It makes me sad that I cannot protect the child I made, I can't protect him from these missiles. I just can't. I don't ...

Interview: Lizandra Vidal, Ayiti Yoga

Interview: Lizandra Vidal, Ayiti Yoga

Lizandra Vidal and I did our yoga teacher training together back in 2011, in Washington, DC. I'm very excited to have reconnected with her and learn what she's up to — teaching yog ...

Hunting Confucian Cowboys (Part II)

View Part I of "Hunting Confucian Cowboys" here. II. Recall your parents' teachings; every day burn fragrance to venerate your ancestors. Foreign lands will become home, and it will be different. What parents teach will not always be meaningful, relevant to the new. Heaven and earth will switch places. My mother comes to me with a task. Here is a business letter your father is trying to write. Your English ...

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House-Builder of Sexism, Thou Art Seen

Upon the Buddha's enlightenment, he described his many-lifetimes search for a mysterious house builder. Seeking but not finding the house builder, I traveled through the round of countless births. Oh, painful is birth ever and again! House builder you have now been seen. You shall not build the house again. Your rafters have been broken down; your ridge-pole is demolished too. My mind has now attained the u ...

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Hunting Confucian Cowboys (Part I)

While visiting my childhood New Jersey home in my late twenties, I ask about a Chinese scroll hanging on the wall. It has been there as long as I can remember but reading it is not an option for me. It is a qilu poem written over seven centuries ago by an ancestor, Gong Guang-Chuan, and passed down. My father translates Gong’s “advice to the Liu family”: Stay on course crossing borders. Uphold ethics where ...

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The Heterosexuality of Silent Retreat

I once rather directly asked one of my Theravada meditation teachers why men and women had to be separated for the duration of our silent laypersons' retreat. Instinctively I understood the heterosexual nature of the practice before asking, but I wanted to hear the explanation. The response was of course that if men and women mixed during the course of a retreat—where the goal was to practice and appreciate ...

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Mindfulness of Gender Rising, Rising

Aside from my father, one of my early male role models was a high school art teacher. As a very artistically oriented child, I had some difficulty relating to the interests of my mostly-left-brained father. So the art and music departments of my high school became my favorite places, where I was accepted and strongly supported as an artist. Mr. Mich, an abbreviation for a longer Eastern European family name ...

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Men’s Violence

by Steve Self If you want peace on earth, begin in your own country. If you want peace in your country, begin in your community. If you want peace in your community, begin in your family. If you want peace in your family, begin with yourself. If you want to be peaceful, begin with your own heart. - loosely from Confucius. As the author of the stunning article Hate Crimes: A Rape Every Minute, a Thousand Cor ...

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Third Gender (A Poem)

Third Gender   1   I remember when I turned my last skirt into a tablecloth because I only wanted to be one gender now and it was not girl. I remember when everything changed– I turned the tablecloth back into a skirt.   2   The red purse was the last present my mother ever gave me. I hid it under the bed and then I got sober and she went into a coma. It was easier to look like a girl wh ...

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Being Well-Adjusted is Not the Goal

Unexpected things happen in your brain when you’re on an extended silent meditation retreat. For example, sometimes I see issues about sexuality and body image rise in my mind. I’ve realized over time that what mindfulness helps with is practicing a new approach to the self, one that doesn’t surveil for conformity to dominant norms. In other posts I’ve called mindfulness a decolonization practice. Michel Fo ...

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Building Patriarchy on the Fields of Alaya

by Nancy Thompson I remember being in religious instruction in second grade and wondering whether Jesus had, in fact, died for my sins since everything was about men; he was a fisher of men, he redeemed man’s sins. I asked the teacher, who explained that women were included under the umbrella of “man.” I was not convinced. As I grew up, I became less convinced about the validity of much of what the Roman Ca ...

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“Bad Apples?” Buddhist Commodities and Power Relations

Power and Privilege In a letter recounting a sexually abusive relationship which involved a well-known Buddhist teacher and one of his female students, the following phrase was used. “You should have mentioned this privately.”   The teacher was rebuking the student for making the situation public. That phrase points directly to the problems inherent in many Buddhist sanghas in the “West” (for want of a ...

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