Standing up to intolerance

Hi everyone – I’m sorry I’ve been away for a while.

This week, as you likely know, a synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill community was bombed, killing seven. This heinous attack, far from being an isolated event, is symptomatic of a larger assault on religious freedom in this country by intolerant, hateful fundamentalists. It was an assault on the spirit of a tolerance, diverse country whose highest principles are those of inclusion and acceptance.

As Nichiren Buddhists, we believe that life is a precious gift and that every persons’ life is of value, regardless of their background, religion, gender, race, or any other qualifier. We are all equal learners in life’s classroom, each here to share our goodness with the world and to contribute to Universal Enlightenment through our experiences.

An attack on any community is an attack on all of us; the loss of one life to hate is a loss for the whole world. We have a responsibility to stand up against hate wherever it appears and to live our teachings through our compassionate activism. It is not enough to chant and read gosho: we must dedicate ourselves to protecting others. It is by this willingness to defend our fellows, whatever their path, that we truly commit kosen-rufu and spread Buddha’s light across the world.

I challenge everyone reading this blog, wherever you are, to speak out against hate and make hate unwelcome in your community. I challenge you to work in your communities to protect others and to speak up when others are threatened. I challenge you to reach out to people outside of the sangha and let them know that you accept them and are willing to help them however you can.

Nichiren provided us with the blueprint to enlightenment, but it is up to us to embody this truth in every part of our lives. It is only by caring for others that nam myoho renge kyo moves through us and enriches the world.

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