Building the Beloved Community

“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”  (Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. “Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom,” Martin Luther King, Jr., May 4, 1966.)


Gatha for Healing Racial, Systemic and Social Inequity

Aware of the suffering caused by racial, systemic, and social inequities, we commit ourselves, individually and as a community, to understanding the roots of these inequities, and to transforming this suffering into compassion, understanding and love in action. As a global community of practitioners, we are aware of the disproportionate racial violence and oppression, committed by institutions and by individuals, whether consciously or unconsciously, against African Americans and people of color across the United States and beyond. We know that individually and as a community, looking deeply, we can engage the collective wisdom and energy of the Sangha to heal, grounded in non-discrimination, non-harming, and non-self, as our foundation for Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Mindfulness, and Right Insight.

Dear Thay, dear Sangha, dear Beloved Community,

We pause at this moment of the national holiday to celebrate the life and the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and our beloved teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, who shared a common vision for the Beloved Community. Their legacy invites us to look deeply at racial, systemic, and social inequities, particularly now, when so many people are suffering the effects of violence, fear, end enmity.  As students of Thay, we are actively engaged in the work of transformation. These efforts have given rise to the formation of the Plum Village Racial Equity Sangha, practitioners within the four-fold community, gathered to support and strengthen healing and transformation.

Throughout our communities, some Sanghas have been actively engaged in healing racial, systemic, and social inequities for many years. Others may be just beginning, and still others may be struggling with how to begin, given the scope of this issue.  In 2015, members of the Plum Village community, together with other Buddhist communities, participated in national discussions on racial, systemic, and social inequities. These discussions have brought to light much suffering within segments of our community, specifically racial violence across the United States. Our desire is to work to alleviate suffering wherever it exists, knowing that the suffering of one person is the suffering of us all.


The Beloved Community is called to Love in Action

On this holiday weekend, we invite you to:

1 – On Monday, as you walk, walk for Dr. King; as you walk, walk for Thay, holding them in your heart and mind.

2 – View “Where Spirit and Action Meet; Continuing the Living Legacy of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” from the 2015 US Tour, a national panel discussion. Click here for the link.

3 – Visit our Resources page to support your practice and Sangha building, including Mindfulness Bell articles, videos, books, podcasts, and websites addressing racial, systemic, and social inequities within the Sangha and beyond.

4 – Join our email list to receive updates from the Plum Village Racial Equity Sangha.

5 – Share this letter widely and as you enjoy your mindful breathing.

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