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Nov 12
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An Open Letter in Support of Occupy Movement

Buddhist and Yoga Teachers Write an Open Letter in Support of Occupy Movement

Ethan Nichtern and Michael Stone have composed a letter about why teachers of Buddhism and yoga should support the Occupy Movement. And they’ve reached out to their peers, asking a number of fellow leaders to sign the letter as a gesture of “commitment to align our practice and values and work together to help our society.”

The letter has so far been co-signed by over 200 Buddhist and Yoga teachers and leaders including Kalapa Acharya Lobel, Acharya Simmer-Brown, Acharya Ferguson, Acharya Maull, Acharya McLellan, Shastri Bothwell, Shastri Leung and Shastri Van Gils. Also co-signing the letter so far are: Sharon Salzberg, Stephen Batchelor, Seane Corn, Roshi Joan Halifax, David Loy, Dr. Robert Thurman, Jack Kornfield, Norman Fischer, Susan Piver, Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Tara Brach, Anne Waldman, Angel Kyodo Williams and many others.

From the letter:

This movement has given voice to a near-universal frustration with the economic and political disenfranchisement of so many. It offers a needed counterbalance to a system that saps the life energy of the overwhelming majority –– the so-called 99% –– generating vast profits for a tiny handful, without maximizing the true potential for widespread wealth creation in our society. While our practice challenges us to cultivate compassion for 100% of human beings without vilifying an “enemy,” our practice also calls on us to challenge a system that causes such clear harm and imbalance.

[…] we believe that individual awakening and collective transformation are inseparable. For members of spiritual communities, mindfulness of the situation before us demands that we engage fully in the culture and society we inhabit. We do not view our own path as merely an individualistic pursuit of sanity and health, and we believe it would be irresponsible of us to teach students of mind/body disciplines that they can develop their practice in isolation from the society in which they live. We are inspired by the creative and intellectual work of the Occupy movement as an essential voice in facilitating a more compassionate and ecologically grounded basis for practice.

The complete letter has been published on Huffington Post; click here to read it now.

Click here for the link to where teachers and sangha leaders of Buddhist/Meditation/Yoga communities can sign their names.

Click here to read Shambhala SunSpace’s previous Occupy/Occupy Wall Street coverage, including contributions from Michael Stone, Velcrow Ripper, and more.

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5 responses to “ An Open Letter in Support of Occupy Movement ”
  1. rita ashworth
    Nov 20, 2011

    what do people make of this ……interesting best from the UK

  2. Michael McCormick
    Nov 18, 2011

    Your statement is a refreshing reminder that we need to step out of our personal concerns, compelling as they are, to see that personal liberation is simply one aspect of creating enlightened society, and that meditative practice can reach its full potential only through acting together in the real world to transform it. Thank you.

  3. I was feeling like the Buddhist community needed to share its collective voice on this vital movement. Much gratitude to you both for writing this and collecting the signatures of these fine teachers.

    Monica V

  4. Lou Faiel-Dattilo
    Nov 17, 2011

    Thanks to all for this warm contribution to basic sanity.

  5. This is well stated. A collective awakening is necessary for a truly enlightened society. Society, in general, has been distracted by this age of technology and needs to head in the direction of awakening. Concentrating more on the interconectedness of everyone rather than the distractions of this fast paced age. I myself have fallen victim to this age, with a feeling of near panic that I couldn’t get “everything” done in any given day. I can actually remember the moment when I realized that the most important things were being put on the bottom of my “lists” and the most trivial things were consistently on the top. The feeling of not having enough time because I was literally wasting most of it on tasks that had little to do with anything other than busy work. These items seemed so very important, but were in fact, completely unnecessary to any purpose other than creating more work or filling a day. In short, I didn’t have the skills to sit with myself- requiring the distractions to be able to get through the day. The occupy movement is at least making the attempt to make us all aware that the distribution of work/wealth in this country is partly due to our own distractions and those created in the giant shell game that is our society now.

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