ZCLA STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY

Whereas, the United States of America has, from its inception, implicitly and explicitly promoted a white-supremacist system, as evidenced in the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the institution of slavery, and

Whereas, this systemic white-supremacist ideology has resulted in the oppression of Indigenous peoples, Blacks, Latinx, Asians and all those who are deemed People of Color, to the present day, and

Whereas, George Floyd has become a “Bodhisattva in death,” awakening the world to take actions that will end, once and forevermore, the dehumanizing and deluded narrative of “other” and its consequences, and

Whereas, our country is currently experiencing a potentially transformative moment to forever root out this racist ideology as it is manifested in individual, collective, and systemic behaviors, and

Whereas, the injustices that target Black lives in particular have given rise to the undisputed dharma that Black Lives Matter, and

Whereas, white-supremacist racism and all forms of racism are the most virulent and dangerous forms of delusion, that of a separate identity of human beings when, in fact, all beings are empty of separateness and are wholly interdependent, and

Whereas, the vow of Zen Buddhist practitioners is to end suffering caused by delusion, including the ways that it manifests in subtle and overt forms of violence such as murder, lynching, torture, unjust treatment under the law, and unequal opportunities of employment, education, and access to health services, public spaces and opportunities.

Therefore, we, the stewards of The Zen Center of Los Angeles, as practitioners of the Buddha Way, pledge to end these delusions by diligently applying the practices of The Three Tenets of Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Taking Action.

Specifically, we will:

  • hold ourselves resolutely accountable for recognizing attitudes and acts of racism in ourselves and others and for never turning away from the suffering these cause,
  • do the essential inner work of being truthful about our own deluded self which results in individual racism and its consequences and rooting it out, no matter how uncomfortable it may be,
  • do the essential work of educating ourselves on the white-supremacist history of the United States and its consequences,
  • do the essential work together of deep listening, deep learning, and council in order to illuminate the Black Experience and commit to creating spaces to do this,
  • do the essential work together of deep listening, deep learning, and council in order to illuminate the experiences of Indigenous peoples, Latinx, Asian and all those deemed People of Color and commit to creating spaces to do this,
  • do the tireless work that is required to uproot any and all forms of racism that exist in our Sangha and the larger community of public institutions and government whenever and wherever we encounter it,
  • continually affirm our intention that our Sangha does everything it can to safeguard access and inclusion and to uphold the equality and dignity of Black lives and of Indigenous lives and the lives of People of Color,
  • create and establish life-affirming and liberating practices, policies, and organizational changes that support the values of equality, equity, and diversity.

 

The Teachers and Board of Directors Zen Center of Los Angeles • June 14, 2020

Teachers

Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Abbot Emeritus/Head Teacher (Board)

Sensei Deb Faith-Mind Thoresen, Abbot (Board)

Roshi Kipp Ryodo Hawley

Sensei Mark Shogen Bloodgood

Sensei Katherine Senshin Griffith

Dharma Holder Darla Myoho Fjeld (Board)

Dharma Holder Jitsujo Tina Gauthier (Board)

Dharma Holder Jonathan Kaigen Levy

Dharma Holder Tom Dharma-Joy Reichert

 

Board of Directors*

Patti Muso Giggans, President

Frank Genku Martinez, Chief Financial Officer

Bill Earth-Mirror Corcoran

John Kyogen Rosania

Robert Kanzan Swan

*Additional Board members noted above.

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