A Message from Robert Aitken Roshi

April 9, 2007

image - Robert Aitken Roshi“A day of no work is a day of no eating,” Baizhang Huihai (a Chinese Zen master) is remembered to have said. He also said that “the one we work for needs our help because she/he has no tools.”

Baizhang is perhaps the earliest Mahayana teacher to articulate our responsibility to care for our fellow human beings and all sentient life. When I helped to found the Buddhist Peace Fellowship in 1978 with Anne Aitken, Nelson Foster, and other friends, our intention was that BPF would be a vehicle for carrying out that responsibility.

Baizhang continues to be present in the mission of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, even during these challenging times. Our effort to fulfill his vows, through BPF, is an expression of gratitude to him. Please join us in following through on these vows: click here to make a donation today to support the work of BPF.

Today, BPF’s work takes many forms — but all still in the spirit of offering a compassionate response to suffering. These are just a few of the highlights from the past year:

The January 2007 Buddhist Peace Delegation in Washington, DC: BPF brought together more than 300 people to walk mindfully together to call for an end to the Iraq War, organized visits with U.S. Senators and Representatives to dialogue about options for peace in the Middle East, and sponsored a training in Nonviolent Communication for lobbyists.

“Peace in Our Hearts, Peace in the World: Wholehearted Practice in Difficult Times:” A four-day summer 2006 gathering in New York that offered BPF members a chance to practice and learn together, and to hear stories of speakers like Aidan Delgado, a Buddhist conscientious objector who served in Iraq.

• Through partnership projects such as Labor Day Call to Action (with Interfaith Workers Justice) and the National Peace Tax Fund Legislation, we brought key issues to the attention of Buddhist communities and others and offered vehicles for effective action.

There’s much more. Please take a look at our 2006 Annual Report which outlines the year’s accomplishments and includes updates on all our programs.

We do our work against the background of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the very real threat of an invasion of Iran. BPF relies almost entirely on the generosity of people like you to continue projects such as our Peacework, and “Coming Home,” a meditation/drop-in center we are opening for ex-prisoners this spring. This is an especially important time of year to show your commitment. Please join me in responding today with a generous donation to support BPF.

In the dharma,

signature - Robert Aitken

Robert Aitken
Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawaii

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