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Block, Build, Be Leadership Retreat July 15–17

Block, Build, Be Leadership Retreat July 15–17

Do you get down at the intersection of social justice and Buddhism? Looking to build community with folks dedicated to practicing spiritual and political liberation? You're officia ...

Sitting For the Frisco Five

Sitting For the Frisco Five

The first time I remember sitting in front of San Francisco City Hall was at my high school prom, 12 years ago. I was barely politicized back then. The last time I sat in front of ...

Growing the Ranks of White Buddhists Against White Supremacy

Growing the Ranks of White Buddhists Against White Supremacy

For the past 2 years, I’ve been talking with white Buddhists in Oakland and across the US about how the dharma can help us dismantle racism. ...

Dharma & Direct Action Training comes to Michigan in September

Dharma & Direct Action Training comes to Michigan in September

Join BPF and the Environmentalist Group of the Zen Buddhist Temple, Ann Arbor, for a two-day September workshop to develop inspiring responses to injustice guided by spiritual wisd ...

Block, Build, and Be: Buddhism and Social Justice

Block, Build, and Be: Buddhism and Social Justice

What do you want to Block? What do you want to Build? And what do you want to Be? For a limited time, give to the BPF campaign and receive lovely perks for your donation. ...

Are Trump Protests A Collective Form of Boundary Setting?

Are Trump Protests A Collective Form of Boundary Setting?

What would it mean to set healthy boundaries against Trump's violent rhetoric? ...

5 Ways Buddhists Can Counter Trump’s Bigotry

5 Ways Buddhists Can Counter Trump’s Bigotry

As Buddhists or spiritual people committed to justice, what can we do about hateful, ultra-conservative, quasi-fascist movements like the rise of Donald Trump? ...

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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Anti-Patriarchal Politics and Discernment: Discipline as Freedom

Duke Ching of Chi asked Confucius about government. Confucius replied, “Let the ruler be a ruler, minister be a minister, father be a father, son be a son.” The Duke said, “Excellent! Indeed, if the ruler is not a ruler, the ministers not ministers, fathers not fathers and sons not sons, even if I have food, how can I eat it?” —Confucius, Analects (Book 12, Chapter 11), 500 BCE Many Buddhists come from Conf ...

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Out-Organizing Patriarchy, or: Buddhist Strategies For Existing Politically In A Mini-dress

Feminism is about politics, not a one-size-fits-all uniform. —Janell Hobson, Ms. magazine writer, in Policing Feminism: Regulating the Bodies of Women of Color Some would say it's my fault, for wearing a dress like that to a political action. How do you expect to be taken seriously? (And, from certain older feminists): We fought to be seen as more than sex objects.  How can you throw away that progress? Und ...

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The Influence of Orientalism on US Buddhism

“The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void.” —Gary Snyder, 1961 In contemplating Gary Snyder’s essay “Buddhist Anarchism” for my previous post on Turning Wheel Media, I came across the above phrase, which stuck out to me like a sore thumb. As an Asian American cultural critic and Buddhist practitioner, I have a finely tuned r ...

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What’s Wrong With Sex? A Buddhist Perspective

Scholar and Zen teacher David Loy looks at historical clues from the Buddha's time to ask: what's up with all this sex-negativity? As Buddhism infiltrates the West, one of the important and interesting points of contention is sexuality. Buddhism in Asia has been largely a cultural force for celibacy (among monastics) and sexual restraint, so how is Western Buddhism adapting to the sexual revolution? Today ma ...

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Revisiting Buddhist Anarchism

I’ve been revisiting Buddhist anarchism lately, the strain of socially engaged Buddhism that some foundational Buddhist Peace Fellowship movers and shakers were associated with in some form. Like any religion, Buddhism's tenets and teachings can be interpreted in many ways, including in the anti-state and anti-capitalist direction. In other posts I have indicated that some interpretations of Buddhism have l ...

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Call For Submissions: Decolonizing Our Sanghas

In the words of Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, "Buddhism, with its non-theistic framework, grounds its ethics not on the notion of obedience, but on that of harmony." On the individual level, the teetotaling Fifth Precept of Buddhism, a training to abstain from taking intoxicants, is meant not in a moralizing way, but as a practice to help us avoid unnecessary disturbances and disharmony of the mind. “Intoxicants are ...

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The No-Self of Identity Politics

It's a kind of Buddhist-feminist koan: if the personal is political, and the personal (self) is also illusory, are politics illusory, too? Addressing a recent conference of engaged Buddhists and liberation theologians, professor of theology Dr. Melanie Harris candidly recalled how her encounters with Buddhadharma initially challenged her womanist framework — Black feminism that centers race, class, and gend ...

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