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New: $2,000 Soma Award

New: $2,000 Soma Award

Presenting the Soma Award: $2,000 for 5 activists whose outstanding work in social justice has been meaningfully influenced by Buddhism. Apply by April 28. ...

Awakening Together with Integrity

Awakening Together with Integrity

BY LARRY YANG Often when we speak of the term “Mindfulness” there is a key component missing among its usefulness. What is often not addressed or explored is the aspect of mindfuln ...

U Mad? Wisdom for Rageful Times

U Mad? Wisdom for Rageful Times

Screaming at your phone silently? Or not so silently? Join our 6-week web curriculum with spiritual and political wisdom on anger, rage, and betrayal. ...

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. ...

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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Welcome to Sex, Gender, Power Month on TWM

It sounds simple enough: I undertake the training to abstain from sexual misconduct.  We might think we know what the Third Precept on sexual misconduct looks like on an interpersonal level.  But how do we see systemic forms of sexist power and gender oppression affecting our societies on a broad scale? We are excited to take this month, as part of our year-long Buddhist social justice curriculum, The Syste ...

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