In an open letter, more than 100 North American Buddhist leaders issued a “call to action” against President Donald Trump today.
Thirteen leading Buddhist teachers wrote the letter, and over 100 additional signatories later signed in support. The text reads, in part:
“Buddhism does not align itself with any party or ideology. But when great suffering is at stake, Buddhists must take a stand against it, with loving-kindness, wisdom, calm minds, and courage.
“In this time of crisis, we hear the cries of millions who will suffer from regressive policies of the new U.S. administration targetting[sic] our most vulnerable communities. We hear the cries of a nation whose democracy and social fabric are at risk. We join in solidarity with many others who are also hearing these cries, knowing that together we can be a remarkable force for transformation and liberation.”
The authors go on to explore what it means to follow the teachings of Buddha when so many living under the Trump administration are suffering and fearful. Buddhists, the authors suggest, should act in ways that make the most effective use of their talents and abilities:
“Our Buddhist communities can become centers of protection and vision. This can take many forms. It can mean providing sanctuary for those in danger or skilfully confronting those whose actions would harm the vulnerable among us. It can be standing up for the environment or becoming an active ally for those targeted by hate and prejudice.
“Some will march and engage in direct action. Others will support community well-being through clinics, gardens, criminal justice reform, or youth empowerment. Some will work in the next election, some will meditate more, and others will try to be kinder and more civil in their day-to-day interactions. Some manifestations of [Buddhist goddess] Kwan Yin have a thousand arms because there are many ways to serve others.”
This is exactly the sort of response that not only Buddhists, but all of us must all have. Giving in to despair and frustration will only lead to paralysis. To successfully endure the next four years, faith communities, political organizations, social institutions, and individuals must be proactive, positive, and hopeful.
Only then will we be able to salvage something good from last year’s disastrous elections.
Check out the full text of the letter at the Lion’s Roar, a bimonthly print and online magazine providing news and commentary from a Buddhist perspective.
Featured image via YouTube video.