For years, people have gone to retreats in a protected space like a monastery, often in a natural setting, to hone their skills in loving awareness and learn the craft of meditation. Outside monastery and retreat center walls, governments rise and fall—while people drawn to contemplative practices of mindfulness and compassion quietly pursue their spiritual concerns and questions. Our center, too, is an oasis of peace, a refuge from the strong political winds currently blowing towards…we don’t know where. War is my worst fear—the wisdom teachings of loving awareness, my faith.
Beth Sternlieb sends these words from the highly esteemed monk/translator Bhikkhu Bodhi:
“There are certain convictions that Buddhists hold and consider inviolable. We believe, for instance, that every human being possesses intrinsic dignity, that everyone should be treated fairly, that those fallen into hardship should be protected and given the chance to flourish, and that the resources of the earth should be used judiciously, out of respect for the delicate web of nature…. We’re entering a turbulent time when it won’t be enough for us merely to adopt the practice of mindfulness as a regimen of resilience, a means of maintaining inner balance against the shockwaves rippling across the social landscape. We’ll need a bolder agenda, a program of collective action inspired by a radically different vision of human interconnection, one that affirms our duty to respect and care for one another and to maintain a habitable planet for generations yet unborn.
…. We can call, in unison, for a policy of global generosity in place of rash militarism, for programs that protect the poor and vulnerable, for the advancement of social and racial justice, and for the rapid transition to a clean-energy economy. To stand up and speak out in support of such ends is (important for dharma teachers)… to bring the moral weight of the dharma to bear on matters that affect the lives of people everywhere—now, and long into the future.”