Aryaloka sangha explores opportunities for social action
On Fri, 21 March, 2014 - 15:25
Aryaloka Buddhist Center, in an effort to more intentionally bring the Dharma off the cushion, had its first meeting at Aryaloka exploring the possibility of beginning a New Hampshire chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship on March 12th, 2014. Ten sangha members were in attendance for the first meeting and the discussion was energetic.
Kris Schultz and Gene Taylor - associated with many activist groups, including Wonderwell Mountain Refuge - presented some of the background of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and their own history working to repeal the death penalty in New Hampshire, catching us up on the current state of peace work by spiritual groups in the state on this important topic.
The Faith Initiative of the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is planning vigils in March in anticipation of the death penalty vote for communities throughout the state, which all are welcome to attend and take part in.
Conversation at this first meeting ranged from action on the death penalty to what our sangha would like to see a NH Chapter of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship focus on. Kris and Gene, who had met with many NH Buddhist groups already, were impressed by the work that Aryaloka has already done with its outreach to prisons, its strong sense of community, and the skill in practical planning and organization that we bring to the table.
Kris and Gene expressed the deep need for engagement by Buddhist groups in social action in New Hampshire - something that other faiths have been doing well for some time. Often Buddhist groups are unaware of their potential to take part in interfaith organization, or they just simply haven’t been asked. The speakers related stories about taking part in vigils and having others ask, “Where are all the Buddhists?”
The desire to take part in action outside the sangha has been growing at Aryaloka as well, and the forming of an organizational vehicle in which to express this desire promises to be an excellent development.
The next meeting of the NH Buddhist Peace Fellowship will be on April 16th at 6:30 p.m. at Aryaloka Buddhist Center.