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Spirit Rock Stands with Asian and Pacific Islander communities against hate and violence

Spirit Rock Stands with Asian and Pacific Islander communities against hate and violence

March, 2021

Our community continues to bear witness to the violence of the March 16 Atlanta shootings, which took the lives of eight people, including six women of Asian descent. This violence was a terrible reminder of the injustices and hatred perpetrated by white people against Asian American and Pacific Islander people in this country over centuries. 

As students of the Dharma, dedicated to the study and practice of interdependence, we stand with people of Asian descent and all beings struggling against systemic oppression. We understand compassion and solidarity, along with wise action of many kinds, to be vital expressions of the path of liberation.

Racist violence against people of Asian descent has been part of American history since the first Asians arrived here, many bringing Buddhism with them. From the 1875 Page Act excluding Chinese women, to the wartime Japanese internment camps, Asian immigrants have fought for safety and basic rights in the U.S. for generations.

Most recently, we’ve seen targeting and scapegoating of Asian people from the highest levels of government, and hate crimes have increased dramatically during the Coronavirus pandemic. We hold all Asian and Pacific Islander people here and worldwide in our hearts, offering the prayer at the root of lovingkindness (mettā) practice: may all beings be safe from harm

As a multicultural Buddhist center, we are forever indebted to our Asian teachers and lineage holders, and grateful beyond words for the long dedication of many Asian cultures in preserving the teachings and practices of the Buddha and his disciples. We have a special responsibility to Southeast Asian Buddhist cultures particularly as the stewards of the Theravāda lineage that is the basis of Insight Meditation. And we hold in our hearts Spirit Rock’s practitioners, staff, teachers, and Board members of Asian descent as they experience this tragedy in unique ways.

The Dharma directs us to investigate suffering and its causes, and we know that complex forces and conditions are at play in painful events such as this. We understand conditioned experience to be both internal and external, and that it includes intersectional systemic conditions such as racism, misogyny, classism, and white supremacy, all of which we saw in the Atlanta murders. 

Even as we are holding the tragedy in Atlanta in our hearts, we learn of another mass shooting, in Boulder, Colorado. We are reminded of the instructions of the Buddha to “live without hate among those who hate,” and we endeavor anew to bring compassion and clear seeing to a world that can seem so filled with violence. 

We extend our heartfelt condolences and compassion to the families of those killed in Atlanta, Boulder, and everywhere violence takes form. May our practice be for the benefit of all beings, and may we work together toward a world free from hate, gun violence, and the ongoing trauma of racialized violence.



History of Racism Against Asians in the U.S.

How to take action

Buddhist Perspectives

Statements by Other Organizations

Many of our sibling Buddhist organizations have also written statements that express important aspects of the issue. Honoring the diversity of thought and expressions of allyship in American Buddhism, here are links to a few we find illuminating.

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