Social Justice

Buddhism teaches that we are noble by our actions, not by birth or circumstance
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    Freedom Behind Bars Paid Member

    They filed through the gymnasium doors in regulation blue and gray sweatshirts, rubbing their eyes, some curious but all of them tired. A cellmate had kept most of them up all night by yelling and banging on the walls. At the doors, the young men slapped on name tags and grabbed their complementary granola bars. “It’s a great day to be in prison,” one of them said as he filed past the makeshift check-in desks to find his seat. Although Prison Dharma Network (PDN) holds a shorter, smaller weekly class on Thursday evenings at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden, Colorado, today’s program would be a bit different. The fifty males—all fifteen to twenty years old—who were about to go through the half-day PDN program on this Monday in late March, had been hand-selected by Lookout staff as those most likely to benefit from today’s workshop. More »
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    Peace on the Street Paid Member

    Photographs by Darrin Harris Frisby More »
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    Awakening for All Paid Member

    According to social activist Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, “the ten perfections can be cultivated when one diligently serves the poor.” Photo Courtesy of Sarvodaya USA You are called the Gandhi of Sri Lanka. But Gandhi was a Hindu, and you are a Buddhist. How have Gandhian principles influenced you as a Buddhist? It is embarrassing for me when they compare me to Gandhi. Gandhi was so great. Certainly Gandhi was influenced by Hinduism. I was influenced by Buddha’s teachings. The principles of truth and nonviolence that Gandhi expounded do not contradict Buddhist teachings. They are the same in both teachings, so I was naturally influenced by Gandhian teachings. More »
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    The Movement With No Name Paid Member

    Could you explain what you mean by the "movement" and why, as you put it, "nobody saw it coming"? "Movement" is simply a placeholder for the one to two million organizations in the world today that address issues of the environment and social justice. No one saw this massing of organizations coming because it didn't start as a top-down, ideological movement with charismatic leaders and a manifesto. More »
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    Tough Lovingkindness Paid Member

      I NEVER intended to teach meditation to kids. A few years back, I received a phone call from a social studies teacher at a New York City high school who was teaching his students about Eastern cultures and religions. He wanted to know if I could visit his classes, talk to the kids about Buddhism, maybe take them through a brief guided meditation. I'm not sure to this day how he found me—perhaps he was scouring the Internet in search of a meditation teacher. I agreed to meet with his classes and headed for the high school, School of the Future, in Manhattan, feeling a certain amount of trepidation. I'd be operating outside my comfort zone, teaching kids.More »
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    The R Word Paid Member

    In our current atmosphere of cultural polarization, the term religion has become highly contested. Just how contested was brought home to me in April 2006, when, during a public lecture I gave at the University of Montana in Missoula, a man in the audience sharply questioned my very use of the word. I said that I was simply following a long history of usage, that I knew that some people contrast spirituality, which they see as good, with religion, which they believe is bad, but that I had never found that dichotomy helpful, as spirituality until recently was always considered an aspect of religion, not a rival to it. But he was adamant. Religion, he insisted, is a terrible thing and if I didn’t want to use the term spirituality, I should think of some new word. Like what? I queried. He had no answer but insisted I come up with one. More »