Buddhist Peace Activists Plan Response to U.S. Presidential Inauguration

The Buddhist Channel, Jan 14, 2005

Berkeley, CA (USA) -- Along with other religious groups in the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) is encouraging its more than 4,000 members across the world to plan or take part in actions to call attention to the war in Iraq during Inauguration week, January 16-23, 2005. Groups in New York City, Washington D.C., and other locales are planning responses.

"As people committed to the alleviation of suffering, Buddhists have a responsibility to cultivate peace in our world. Because both major candidates ignored any substantive discussion about nonviolent alternatives to war in the 2004 campaign, it's crucial that we continue to raise this issue," said BPF's executive director Maia Duerr.

On January 19, the eve of the inauguration, the Washington D.C. Buddhist Peace Fellowship chapter will hold a candlelight vigil and meditation at All Souls' Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard St. NW, Washington, D.C. The event includes a tribute for those killed due to the U.S. government's policies and prayers for those who continue to
be in harm's way and who are being asked to carry out unjust or violent policies. Rebecca Hines, a member of the Washington D.C. BPF chapter, said, "The evening will offer a special opportunity to come together as a community to prepare our hearts and minds to be agents for peace over the next four years."

In other locations: BPF members in Western Massachusetts will do a meditation "sit-in" for peace at the Federal Building in Springfield, MA; members in the San Francisco Bay Area will provide a meditative presence at the January 20 counter-inauguration rally in San Francisco; and the Barcelona, Spain, BPF chapter will hold a
candlelight vigil on the eve of January 20. Earlier in the week, on Sunday, January 16, BPF-New York City is planning an afternoon of events to commemorate both Martin Luther King's birthday and to respond to the presidential inauguration, as it ushers in a new state of the Union. The group will watch a video about the "Jizos for Peace"
pilgrimage to Japan in August, 2005. The gathering takes place from 4-6 pm at the Village Zendo, 588 Broadway, #910.

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