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Apply Now! Block, Build, Be Retreat 2017

Apply Now! Block, Build, Be Retreat 2017

Go deeper into BPF's unique ecology of spirituality and social justice, in our 2nd annual Block, Build, Be leadership retreat: blocking harm and oppression, building new worlds, an ...

Make Meetings a Refuge

Make Meetings a Refuge

"Those might be the nicest things people have ever said to me," a BPF board member reflected sincerely as we closed our yearly board and staff retreat with a circle of appreciation ...

Refuge in the Truth of Change: Session 2 of Refuge & Resistance

Refuge in the Truth of Change: Session 2 of Refuge & Resistance

How can we find a sense of refuge in a world that keeps on changing? What does it mean to both accept the truth of change, and contribute to shaping change? And how can refuge supp ...

When MLK Jr. Rejected “Obnoxious Peace”

When MLK Jr. Rejected “Obnoxious Peace”

As an organization with "Peace" in our name, we are often misunderstood. On MLK Day, let's clarify some things. ...

Safety, Sanctuary, Refuge: Session 1 of Refuge & Resistance

Safety, Sanctuary, Refuge: Session 1 of Refuge & Resistance

What do the Three Jewels of refuge look like in today's political world, as people become more desperate for safety? ...

Start the New Year with Refuge & Resistance

Start the New Year with Refuge & Resistance

All beings deserve refuge, but oppression requires resistance. Can we do both? Welcome to our January 2017 series, brand-new from BPF. ...

Surviving Auschwitz, Resisting Trump, Staying Open

Surviving Auschwitz, Resisting Trump, Staying Open

This week visiting home, I'm pulled to revisit some family papers. Today, under Trump's ascendancy, I am the exact same age as my grandfather was in Austria, when Hitler rose to po ...

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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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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