Women’s March 2019 BAC Statement

 Buddhist Action Coalition (BAC) reaffirms its commitment to move in community with women in the continuing struggle for rights and true liberation.  We BAC members are from different traditions of Buddhism. We come together with a shared dedication to embody the core values of our practice: in our actions, in our engagement with the world, as advocates of peace and social justice.

The attacks on women and gender equality by the current administration are relentless: the onslaught against reproductive rights and freedom; restrictions of funding or defunding of international and national family-planning organizations; rescinding the requirement in healthcare law that employers provide contraception coverage; rolling back a rule designed to close the gender pay gap; redefining the Violence Against Women Act in ways that diminishes the seriousness of domestic violence... The undercurrent is a system that gives power to one group over others.

We must work hard to safeguard and campaign for laws that protect against discrimination on the basis of sex and promote gender, racial, economic equality.  Indeed, we must organize, mobilize, and find new ways to create change. We must also go beyond that, to the root cause of injustice and misogyny—that of a culture borne out of a mindset driven by power and greed, where women and whole groups of people are objectified and commodified.  We must work toward a collective awakening where women are treated with respect, with parity, and where women's dignity is honored; a collective awakening where our actions and interactions with ourselves, with one another, with this earth come from a mind of compassion, openness, oneness.

That’s a monumental task, one that requires great courage, conviction, and deep practice.  We must remain steady in not knowing how all this will unfold. What we know is that the work must be done.  We Buddhists are made for these times. We know how to roll up our sleeves and be present in the task at hand.  We have the training: we sit, walk, do work practice... everyday, no matter what. We get up and show up under all circumstances.  A continuous practice that’s tailor-made for this vital endeavor.

We can take inspiration from the countless women who've begun the work—the facilitators of this and other women's mass demonstrations;  the women who’ve come forward and continue to come forward with their experiences of sexual violation; the women, particularly the women of color, who defied the odds and now hold seats in government;  the women throughout history who organized, challenged the status quo, and fought for the very rights that are now in danger. We can build on and glean wisdom from the efforts of Buddhist women teachers who've taken the path of socially engaged Buddhism and whose work offer new and profound ways of seeing things.

To take to the streets is not an interruption of the often regimented structures in Buddhist temples and meditation halls.  To take to the streets is a continuation of our practice. True and lasting change can only come through a shift from the mind that manufactures the separations and conditions we find ourselves in to a mind that sees and acts on the interrelatedness of everyone and everything.  Let’s get to it.

We offer the four great vows of the Boddhisatva:

Creations are numberless, we vow to free them.

Delusions are inexhaustible, we vow to transform them.

Reality is boundless, we vow to perceive it.

The awakened way is unsurpassable, we vow to embody it.