Buddhist Peace Activists Join Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemorations Across the U.S. and Australia

The Buddhist Channel, Aug 4, 2005

Berkeley, CA (USA) -- Eleven chapters of the international Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) are taking part in Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorations in 14 locations in the U.S. and Australia, including major events at the sites of nuclear labs and testing grounds in Los Alamos, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Livermore, California.

Susan Moon, author and editor of BPF?s journal Turning Wheel, explained why BPF is involved: ?As a socially engaged Buddhist, I attempt to not turn away from suffering. It?s important to remember the atomic fire that burned and eventually killed more than 300,000 people in Japan. We can?t ever let that happen again. Even though the horrific destruction of these two cities happened 60 years ago, the same kind of violence has the potential to happen today. Our government is still testing and manufacturing these bombs. As Buddhists, we need to speak out and help people remember that we?re all connected to each other.?

On Friday, August 5, BPF executive director Maia Duerr will join hibakusha (Japanese survivors of the bombing), Roshi Joan Halifax, and others in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a bell-ringing ceremony at the same time that the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. On Saturday, August 6, the group will hold a day-long meditation vigil near the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab (where the atomic bomb was created). Near Las Vegas, former BPF director Alan Senauke will be present at a retreat and teach-in at the Nevada Desert Test Site, location of over 900 nuclear weapons tests since the Cold War. And in California, the San Francisco BPF chapter will offer a silent candlelight vigil and meditation witness at the gates of Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab.

Some of the other events that BPF members have helped to plan include: a meditative peace walk in Montpelier, Vermont; a silent vigil on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut; a candlelight vigil and interfaith ceremony in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and a ?Contemplative Commemoration? in St. Petersburg, Florida, which will include launching peace lanterns. For a complete listing of BPF-endorsed events, please see www.bpf.org.

The mission of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), founded in 1978, is to serve as a catalyst for socially engaged Buddhism. BPF's programs, publications, and practice groups link Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion with progressive social change. BPF is an affiliate of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. More information is available at