Statement of Support from PIMC Teachers Council

As Dharma teachers, our hearts are broken open at this time of great pain and suffering. We bear witness to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black Americans, and feel the anguish of the racial inequities and the frequent failure of the courts to bring justice to these cases. Most grievous is that these tragic events are not isolated incidents. They are part of systemic racist injustice in the United States that is rooted in centuries of slavery and segregation, and manifested in continued economic and social exclusion, inferior education, mass incarceration and ongoing violence against Black people.

The historic and continued suffering of people of color in this country—of Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and others—is our collective suffering. The harm caused daily is our collective responsibility. Once we see this suffering, our freedom unfolds as we respond with a wise and compassionate heart.

The Buddhist teachings are grounded in a clear recognition of suffering, an ethical commitment to non-harming and an understanding of interdependence: we can’t separate our personal healing and transformation from that of our larger society. This work is actually about mutual liberation, what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called an “inescapable network of mutuality.” It is imperative for us to look at racism, call it out, see it in ourselves and in the world we live in, and find ways to heal from it, collectively. It’s not about guilt. It’s about healing, and freedom, and love.

Our PIMC mission statement says “ we understand the spiritual journey to be one of awakening in the world rather than escape or transcendence from life. Our intention is to empower people to live with impeccable integrity, the willingness to truly be themselves and the capacity to act powerfully with compassion in the world .” The core values that guide us are  “kindness and non-harming, love, generosity, mindfulness and wisdom as we create authentic, nonjudgmental, inclusive and respectful community relationships.”

Our aspiration is to become a truly inclusive and beloved community. In this process we are committed to honestly and bravely uncovering the ways we create separation and unintentionally replicate patterns of inequity and harm. In the same spirit, we are committed to engaging with other faith and social justice groups in support of dismantling racism throughout society.

Right now, we believe it imperative to focus our attentions and efforts on the pervasive and ongoing violence done to Black people in our country. We are inspired by the courage and leadership of the  Black Lives Matter  movement and walk in solidarity with them.

Since their inception, Buddhist teachings and practices have been explicitly devoted to liberation. In his time the Buddha was a revolutionary voice against racism and the caste system: “Not by caste, race, or creed, or birth is one noble, but by heart alone is one a noble being.” The Buddhist trainings in mindfulness, wisdom and compassion, create the grounds for wise speech and wise action. These teachings and practices free our hearts from greed, prejudice and hate and serve an essential role in societal healing, and in the awakening of all.

We are creating a new Social Justice initiative at PIMC. The first suggested action is a book group to study the book Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad.

We call upon you, our beloved friends in the Dharma, to join us to:
•   continue to be committed to the dharma of justice, equity, inclusion and freedom,
•   use the trainings in meditation and ethical behavior to turn outward to the greater community, 
•   vigorously work to educate ourselves and each other regarding power, privilege, and prejudice.
•   to take action where we can to make a difference where we can.

PIMC Teachers Council

Robert Beatty
Doug Pullin
Jim Dalton
Kate Staples
Gregory Maloof
Doyle Banks
Christine Howard
Gary Sanders