Meditation vigil at Iraq War Exhibit

The Buddhist Channel, March 23, 2005

Buddhists to Hold All-Night Meditation Vigil at Iraq War Exhibit in Downtown San Francisco on March 25

Berkeley, CA (USA) -- The Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), an international organization based in Berkeley, CA, is planning a meditation vigil beginning Friday, March 25 at 9 pm, until 9 am, Saturday, March 26, at ?Eyes Wide Open,? an exhibit sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee. The vigil will take place at the Civic Center Plaza.

Eyes Wide Open is a widely acclaimed exhibition on the human cost of the Iraq war. The exhibit includes a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty; a field of shoes and a wall of remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict; and a multimedia display exploring the history and consequences of the war. When this exhibit was unveiled in January 2004, in Chicago, there were 504 pairs of boots symbolizing the lost lives of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. As it arrives in San Francisco, it will include more than 1,500 pairs of combat boots and thousands of civilian shoes.

Members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, San Francisco Zen Center, and other groups around the Bay Area will gather at Eyes Wide Open on the Civic Center Plaza Friday night, March 25, to hold a vigil intended to ?bear witness? to the human cost of war. Each person at the vigil will commit to sitting at least a two-hour period of meditation through the night, with some remaining until the morning. At 9 am, the vigil will end and the exhibit opens again to the public with a Muslim call to prayer.

?Socially engaged Buddhists have traditionally offered a public meditation practice as a way of making a witness for peace,? said BPF?s vigil coordinator Sara Schedler. ?On the night of the Vigil, we will collectively sit and stand silently between the rows of army boots and civilian shoes that symbolize the lives lost. This is not an anti-war demonstration, but rather a way to recognize the suffering that all sides have experienced in this conflict.?


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

For more information about Eyes Wide Open and the American Friends Service Committee, contact: Stephen McNeil, (415) 565-0201 x 12

Buddhist Peace Fellowship
PO Box 3470
Berkeley, CA 94703 (510) 655-6169
Contact: Maia Duerr, (510) 333-3528,