Dear Nalandabodhi Sangha, friends, and fellow human beings,
The recent murder of George Floyd has brought even greater attention and urgency to the long-standing and still unresolved issue of systemic racism and discrimination in the United States, and the suffering and violence that it perpetuates. There are no words to express the pain and sadness of this tragedy.
Racism, discrimination, and violence are contrary to the teachings of the Buddha, the mission and values of our organization, and the universal human values of kindness, understanding, and love. As an international dharma organization, Nalandabodhi is rooted in compassion and committed to non-violence, equality, inclusion, and transforming the inner and outer causes of suffering. We are further committed to the ongoing work of recognizing and dismantling bias and racism within ourselves, our sangha, and our communities.
Our founder, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, recently said, “The long-cherished statement that ‘all are created equal’ has to mean something. It needs to be reflected in the way we treat each other…When we know how to respect and love one another without the trappings of our biased mind, by being wise and going kind, then the world can offer its best.”
We encourage all Nalandabodhi leaders, volunteers, members and friends of our sangha community to join with us in dedicating time for reflection on the way we treat each other, especially people of color, and to listening deeply—with humility, empathy, and understanding—to those who are suffering, oppressed, and marginalized. From this practice of listening and reflecting, each one of us can identify and strive towards ways we can personally bring greater understanding and love into our actions and work for positive social change.
While striving in this way, we will no doubt make mistakes. But these mistakes are precious opportunities to be vulnerable, to learn, and to grow. Held within the space of a peaceful mind and an open heart, may our mistakes become a path to a world in which the statement “all are created equal” does, in fact, mean something.
Nalandabodhi International Chief Operating Officer