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Thinking of Korea

Thinking of Korea

What can we do in the face of the great monster of war? One small offering: extending friendship. BPFers from across the US fold and send hundreds of blue paper butterflies in soli ...

#BlockBuildBe in the Fight to Make #BlackLivesMatter

#BlockBuildBe in the Fight to Make #BlackLivesMatter

After hearing Block Build Be described at the summer retreat with BPF, organizer Aaron Goggans brought the framework home to Black Lives Matter DC. Goggans says, that Block Build B ...

What’s Next for Buddhist Peace Fellowship?

What’s Next for Buddhist Peace Fellowship?

For 40 years, Buddhist Peace Fellowship has blended Buddhist wisdom with social and ecological activism. Today, at a time when spiritual and moral fortitude are especially crucial ...

Burma’s Genocide: A Panel Discussion, Plus 5 Things You Can Do Right Now

Burma’s Genocide: A Panel Discussion, Plus 5 Things You Can Do Right Now

The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar has reached a tipping point. What can we do? BPF Board member Jess Benjamin reports back from a panel hosted by the Chicago Theological Seminary. ...

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 maternal grandfather was when Hitler rose to power ...

What’s My Role in the Revolution?

What’s My Role in the Revolution?

Have you ever wondered if you're doing enough, or doing the right things, to create true social and spiritual transformation? If so, it might be time to re-visit your role in the r ...

Rest in Power Aaron Lee, the Angry Asian Buddhist

Rest in Power Aaron Lee, the Angry Asian Buddhist

Aaron Lee, author of the blog Angry Asian Buddhist, died Saturday after a battle with cancer. He was 34. BPF reflects on all we've learned, and continue to learn, from Arun’s clear ...

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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