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As the COP21 climate change talks begin in Paris, Buddhists of many traditions have been taking part in climate change marches all over the world.
Meanwhile, the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective’s statement to world leaders is being signed online by ever-increasing numbers of Buddhist leaders worldwide, including Sangharakshita and a number of other senior members of the Triratna Buddhist Order. The Network of Buddhist Organisations UK has also issued a statement, signed by the members of its committee.
I was part of the Stockholm march, in which around 12 members of the Triratna sangha took part.
In Bristol, UK, my colleague Mokshini was one of a number of Triratna beings marching. (Apparently this is what she considers a rest after running the Urban Retreat!) She writes: “ We walked with Buddhists from the Insight Meditation tradition, DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement) and those from the Community of Interbeing. We started with a short ritual and chanted the Tara mantra together before walking silently to the main gathering place.”
Tejopala writes from Melbourne, Australia, where they marched on Friday. “Between 40,000 and 60,000 of us were there, including around 30 people from the Melbourne Triratna sangha. And among them was Vaddhaka from Estonia, in town as part of his world tour speaking about Buddhism and capitalism.
Before the march five people from our sangha helped give out flyers at train stations, or put them through people’s letterboxes.
On the day, we started by sitting in the street in the centre of Melbourne practising the metta bhavana. We then chanted ‘May all beings enjoy happiness and the causes of happiness’ as we walked up the road to join the main protest.
We marched with a huge banner on which Dharmamati had carefully painted the words ‘Buddhists for Climate Action’, as well as placards saying the same thing. Order members wore kesas. We also carried a Buddhist flag.
The mood of the crowd was very buoyant and inspired. There were other Buddhist groups there including a Tibetan group with a number of Tibetan flags. There was everything from turtle costumes to a trades hall choir, via Christians marching to protect Creation, vegan activists and a band of drummers.
We had speeches from a young Aboriginal activist urging us to protect Mother Earth and from a young doctor who had taken on the coal mining interests over health issues relating to coal particulates and climate change in her home - and won.
A number of people, mostly in their 20s, asked us about who we were and wanted to hear more about Buddhism. We finished tired but very happy.
May all beings be well and free from suffering!”