“[In meditation: The Buddha] seats himself cross-legged, his body held erect
and establishes mindfulness in front of him. He does not occupy his mind
with self-affliction, or the affliction of others, or the affliction of both;
he sits with his mind set on his own welfare, on the welfare of others,
on the welfare of both, even on the welfare of the whole world.”
(The Middle Length Discourses, 48)
As you know, Valley Insight Meditation Society is a contemplative group practicing in what is called the Insight tradition of early Buddhism. That tradition is one of the sources of the secular mindfulness teachings which are so wonderfully prevalent in our world today and which were the subject of a thoughtful letter to the Valley News some weeks ago. In the earliest teachings, mindfulness is not simply a way to meditate or focus our attention on a task. It is one of a set of eight factors, which together can help foster a harmonious society. The eight factors are, in turn, part of a system carefully designed to lessen reactivity and the tendencies towards cruelty in our minds and hearts. The practice of meditation in this system can allow us the space to think clearly and wisely in any given situation. It can play a strong role in our active engagement in this world we share.
In this spirit, I share below excerpts from a recent “Unprecedented Call to Action” put together by many Buddhist communities and teachers in our country and around the world. Find the full document here.
“[We] call on Buddhists and all people of faith to take a stand against policies of the new administration that will create suffering for the most vulnerable in society.
Buddhism does not align itself with any party or ideology. But when great suffering is at stake, [we] must take a stand against it, with lovingkindness, wisdom, calm minds, and courage. . . .
People of all faiths are needed on the front lines now, resisting policies that will cause harm and offering a new and positive vision for our country, . . . locking arms with all people of goodwill to protect the vulnerable, counter systemic violence and oppression, and work for a more just and caring society.”
‘As long as a society protects the vulnerable among them,
they can be expected to prosper and not decline.’ —The Buddha, in the Mahaparinirvana Sutta