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Jun 24
California, Arizona
Family is Sacred

Resolution from the Northern California Shambhala Board of Directors and leadership regarding the separation of children from their parents at the United States border. 

Family is sacred to Shambhala Buddhism. Family holds the wisdom of our ancestors, a wisdom that enriches us and that can be handed down to future generations. Family is kin, the root of the word “kindness.”
Shambhala Buddhism takes as its path the creation of an enlightened society, the most intimate form of which is the family. The apical ancestral figure of the Shambhala lineage is known as Rigden, which translates as “possessor of family awareness.”  Indeed, the Shambhala teachings are handed down in a family lineage of Sakyongs, passed from parent to child.

It is therefore a great sadness to see families torn apart and children separated from their parents at the border of this country. The root of this aggression, like the root of all aggression, is fear. Its liberation is gentleness, compassion, and bravery.

As heirs to this ancient tradition of awakened, gentle warriorship, we join with leaders of other spiritual traditions in condemning the policy and practice of separating children from parents as a tool for enforcing immigration laws. In particular, we join in the following expression of compassionate action offered by over 200 Western Buddhist leaders:
“As Western Buddhist leaders, we unreservedly condemn the recently imposed policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexican border. Over the past few weeks, thousands of children have been inhumanely taken from their parents by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in a policy that has been condemned by the United Nations and many international human rights observers. Indeed, no other country has a policy of separating families who intend to seek asylum.
Whatever the legal status of those attempting to enter the U.S., separating children from their parents is a contravention of basic human rights. Parents seeking asylum make long, dangerous and arduous journeys in an attempt to find safety and well-being for their precious children. Ripping these vulnerable children from their parents is cruel, inhumane, and against the principles of compassion and mercy espoused by all religious traditions. From a Buddhist perspective, it is the close bond between parents and children that nurtures not only the physical well-being of children, but their psychological health and their moral formation.
Separating children from their parents and holding them in detention inflicts terrible and needless trauma and stress on young children that hampers and damages their development, causing long-term damage. This policy being employed on United States soil is morally unconscionable. That such egregious actions be employed as a deterrent for families seeking entry and/or asylum in the U.S. – using the sacred bond between innocent youth and their parents – is unjustifiable on any level. We suggest that our current defenders of this policy visit some of these border crossings and child detention centers so they can experience for themselves the present effects of their decisions. It is difficult to conceive that anyone having compassion for our world’s children and their families, and who witnesses such pain and anguish for themselves could continue to uphold such a practice.
As people of faith and conscience, we feel that it is important that we speak out clearly in defense of basic human rights at this time, calling for an immediate end to this heartless practice. In doing so, we join the voices of many religious leaders and congregations that have unreservedly condemned this policy of separation. This policy is a serious violation of the rights of the child and must be stopped today.”

Adopted by the Governing Council of Northern California Shambhala on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
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2 responses to “ Family is Sacred ”
  1. I have brought to the attention new sexual misconduct issues in the Silicon Valley Shambhala and the need to be more careful with the safety and protection of Shambhala’s families and children. My sincere thanks and appreciation for the prompt and rapid response from the Interim Board. The current children’s programs are led by people with dubious background and I have brought it to the notice of the Interim Board and the Care and Conduct Panel. I hope to see timely action and prevention of anything that may harm the emotional well being of Shambhala families and children.

  2. Linda V. Lewis
    Jun 29, 2018

    Thank you for this article. It’s been over a week since I wrote a similar article geared toward the public on elephantjournal. Finally some parents who have not already been deported are being able to phone their children, those who have been miraculously located amid the chaos and lack of tracking. But sometimes some deeply hurt children, misperceiving that their parents have abandoned or rejected them, don’t want to talk. So much unnecessary emotional damage has already been done, and there is still no plan! But there is now a deadline to end separations, reuniting small children within 14 days and older ones within 30. How?– remains the question. It is heartless that the Trump Administration has tracked these migrant and asylum seekers less than the Post Office does property!
    Some of these families have been separated even when they have entered legally in that initial rush “to make a statement”, as Trump decreed, to all Latin Americans. Now with the Muslim Ban it is clear that the statement the present administration is making is that it is clearly racist.
    Meanwhile, 2047 children in de facto prison are still awaiting a plan that will reunite them with their mother or father or aunt where ever they may be.

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