Occupy Buddhist Action – Founding Meeting
Buddhism is a variety of traditions and practices based on the teachings of the “Awakened One” or Buddha. Each tradition emphasises different methods of training the mind with the aim of freeing the individual from suffering. Buddhism is also a rich ethical system that emphasises wisdom, kindness and compassion.
So what would a Buddhist revolutionary be like? Can Buddhists fight for justice?
For many of us, taking political action to make a better world means engaging in forms of “resistance”, “struggle” or even “revolution”. This often involves concepts such as “challenging authority” or “confronting power”. There is a perception that political action of this kind is supported by indignation or “righteous anger”. Activists often harbour a secret hope that if the masses of people around them suffer enough to drive them into desperation and despair, that they will rise up and fight for freedom. So do people need despair in order to rise up? Does challenging iligitimate social structures require rage? What unique contribution could Buddhism make to the tactics and vision of radical movements like Occupy?
Occupy Buddhist Action is a new intiative that seeks to address these questions and more. The group claim, not only, that revolutionary action can be rooted in kindness compassion and good will but that it is in fact strategically adviseable. Compassion, they say, is for the 99% and the 1%.