Buddhists Across Traditions: Black History Month

Buddhists Across Traditions presents four talks throughout Black History Month: Honouring our Ancestors, Healing Ourselves, Nourishing Ourselves and Celebrating our Ancestors.

For Black History Month-UK (October) we have curated a series of compelling events, assembling a diverse array of powerful, pioneering international Afrikan descent monastics, elders, teachers and practitioners from various traditions (Mindfulness, Buddhist, Afrikan spirituality & psychology) coming together to honour, learn from and celebrate Afrikan heritage contributions.

For joining details see our events calendar, or the Buddhists Across Traditions Facebook page.

XR Buddhists promote these events in the spirit of friendship and solidarity. Some XR Buddhists are members and facilitators within Buddhists Across Traditions.

Continuing Online Vigil

The faithbridge vigil outside Downing Street on the Monday before the London Rebellion

The online vigil offering during the recent XR Rebellion Vigil for the Earth was a powerful and much appreciated space for multi faith prayer and meditation sessions with practice focused on our love for the Earth and grief for life lost. The desire of many who were involved is to have something of this going forward.

Twice a week for one hour with input from various faith groups reflecting the diversity of tradition and practice within XR Faith Bridge we will create a space:

  • To bear witness for the Earth
  • To provide a regenerative space of spiritual resourcing for all who wish to share in it
  • To enrich our spiritual practices by experiencing and sharing in each other’s traditions and practices
  • To build a community of respect, support and friendship by creating  a shared sacred space
  • To prepare ourselves for the next period of rebellion

Sessions will take place on Sundays at 7pm and Wednesdays at 9 am beginning with offerings from different faith traditions on Sunday 27th September at 7pm. Please join us, you are welcome wherever in the world you may be.

The Zoom link for joining is a recurring link for each Sunday and Wednesday

Meeting ID556 394 1413
Passcode  if needed 246824

XR Buddhists join Cardiff Faith Vigil for the Earth

“This vigil is beautiful in its simplicity and powerful in its intent – to come together as people from different faith communities and from all philosophies, and to sit together in our grief and our deep love for our planet.” 

XR Buddhists in Cardiff are joining members of different faith groups from the 1st-4th of September, outside of Welsh Parliament, will hold vigil for our planet, whilst setting the intention for our government to act now against climate change. All are welcome, of all faiths and experience, we invite you to take your seat, breathe and sit with love and grief. 

Where will we be? 

  • Join us on the steps of the Senydd building (Senydd Cymru – Welsh Parliament) in Cardiff Bay between 10am-6pm 
  • Welsh Parliament, Pierhead Street, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1SN 
  • We will be holding signs with ‘Faith Vigil for the Earth’ and looking friendly! 
  • Any location changes will be announced in our telegram group: https://t.me/joinchat/MupYARiviEBLlSKs-mzRew 

How do I join in? 

When is the Vigil? 

  • 1st-4th September, 10am-6pm each day. 
  • You can spend as much or as little time with us as you like. Take as many breaks as you need – there are lots of food shops and cafes nearby. 

Will it be safe? 

  • This action is as non-arrestable as possible. We will not be blocking any roads, paths or causing disruption, we will be sitting outside of the Senydd building and do not expect to be moved on.  
  • We will also have a steward at all times to chat to the public, ensure social distancing and welcome anyone who joins us. 
  • We will have beautiful 2.5 metre ribbons between us for social distancing, as well as wearing masks. We will also have sanitiser. 

Do I need to be part of XR Buddhists, Extinction Rebellion or faith group? 

  • No, this is open to all people, regardless of faith or group to sit in quiet solidarity with the earth.

What do I need to bring? 

  • You might want to bring something to sit on – a chair or cushion or blanket – suitable clothes (do check the weather for rain!) and something to drink and eat. Please wear a mask at all times. Also some hand sanitiser! 

In love and grief, XR Buddhists Cardiff

Online multifaith vigil

The 40 day vigil outside Parliament

Online Vigil for the Earth

During the September Rebellion, from 7pm on Monday 31st August until 7pm on Monday 7th September, multi-faith prayer Vigils for the Earth will be held in London, Cardiff, Great Malvern, Lewes, and in other locations. Here is an invitation for those of us who will not be attending the Rebellion in person to offer prayer and support to those who are from our own homes and from the heart of our own faith traditions.

To join with the online vigil there is a rota here https://signup.zone/RwXDtpQpqSRnSagit where each of us can sign up for as many hour long periods as we choose from home. Please add your name by the times and days you wish to commit to being present. If there is someone in the space already then do add your name too. It will only increase the beauty and power of the vigil to have several of us present in mindful attention at one time.

There will also be  a vigil Zoom room available for joining with others should you wish to from 6-10pm on the 31st, then during the times listed below each day. You can access the Zoom room at this link  https://zoom.us/j/95056325615?pwd=TzQyNUZnUDROTHVMazNPdHFMMmN4Zz09 with the passcode 134125 if needed.

Just need to click the link to join us. You are very welcome to do so for a few minutes, or for however long you would like.

The room will be open as follows

Monday 31/08

1800 – 2200

Tuesday 01/09 to Sunday 06/09 inclusive

0800 – 1100
1700 – 2115

Monday 07/09

0800 – 1100
1800 – 2000

We hope to have short live feeds from London, Cardiff and Manchester and members of different faith traditions will be offering to facilitate reflections, prayers, meditations, and readings online.

If you would like to offer to facilitate a session for a few minutes or longer please contact bee.durban@zoho.com with details of what you would like to share and when.

You can read more about the physical vigil here http://www.satyarobyn.com/vigil/, which will give a sense of the beautiful act of love and resistance being planned and which those of us from home can now be a part of.

Finally, there will be also be 9 minute pauses in the Rebellion every day at 9am and 9pm and we are all invited to join with the pause wherever we may be.

Buddhist declAration

August 2020 version

XR Buddhists stand with our fellow Buddhists and all faith groups in Extinction Rebellion at this most momentous of times.

The climate emergency brings both the most terrible of possibilities and the most transformational. The possibility of mass extinction of life on this planet is forcing upon us a truth long forgotten by the so-called developed world: that all things are connected. We have lived too long in a delusion of separation, disconnected from the astonishing grace and beauty of the life forms with which we share our world.

This delusional state of separateness has paved the way for the widespread and critical harm our way of life has had upon the Earth and on marginalised people and communities. And in our hearts we have also paid a heavy price: a sense of meaningless, and of personal and spiritual loneliness has become pervasive. The climate crisis demands that we choose between awakening to the truth of interdependence with the human and non-human world, to heal and to grow into a new relatedness, or face terrible consequences.

And the way to this awakening is love. In Buddhist practice, as in many faith traditions in different forms, we invite this blossoming of a loving heart through meditation, ritual, and our wisdom teachings.

With our dear friends in this emerging and courageous movement, we sit and walk in the light of love and the spirit of the awakened heart.

May wisdom and love prevail

Staying open

By Paul

Paul as a Green Spirit featured in The Economist

I found myself at the October Rebellion emerging fresh out of a profound  experience at Buddhafield Festival.

At the festival in July I had engaged in Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects”, and having set an intention to  “tussle” with Mara in the Going Forth part of the Spiral a penny the size of the London Eye dropped and I realised that the Mindfulness work I had been doing with International Corporations over the last 20 years  was simply not working in a world on the brink of Ecological melt down.

I discovered that my attempts  to influence business leaders to really embrace sustainability was not going to do the urgent  job needed, and the organisations I truly thought could be part of the solution had become a big part of the problem.

It was time to let go of this work, and more importantly in order to do the work I was being called to do, to  abandon the income that came with it.

That set  me free to embrace XR and its Vision and values.

After a few days at the Ocotber Rebellion, despite  enjoying being part of the  crowds of beautiful people , marvelling at  the silence of the  London  streets, and indulging in  the joy of the Samba bands , I started to feel a little bit like a tourist.

It was time to commit.

So I contacted my affinity group and announced myself “arrestable.”

This was a huge commitment for me and the feeling that came with it is difficult to describe, but it had  a distinct flavour of letting go of self and of fear, and of purpose and  joy.

Then unfolded a saga of waiting….. and waiting…. and waiting.

In that time I felt truly held by the Bodhisattvas around me. They were caring for me, looking out for me, and protecting me.

In the end, despite receiving the requisite 5 warnings, the police changed strategy at the last minute and I (and a few others ) were left, a  little confused and slightly bereft.

I imagine it might be like working up  to a blind date where the actual date didn’t show up  in the end.

By the time the massive Samba band arrived on the scene and surrounded we arrestables, it was obvious that arrest was not going to happen.

But the story didn’t end there.

I was due to attend  a family event in Liverpool on the Friday night, and so on my last day the one thing I wanted to avoid was being arrested. I headed for Trafalgar Square with an intention I often use which is “stay open to possibility.”

 My call was answered within minutes. Ping went my phone, it was Chrissie a very good friend, and part of an XR group in South Devon.

“Hi Paul Are you around?” She asked.

“Hi Chrissie, I am actually, what are you up to?”

“ I’m at the Church in Waterloo, can you get round here, straight away, we need a hand “?

“ Ok, I’m on my way”

I arrived and found Chrissie with a few Green Spirits and lots of Red Rebels.

Without really having lots of time too think it through within the hour I was fully dressed and in procession with the Reds and Greens. Over the next 5 hours I experienced one of the most profound meditation experiences that I have ever had in my 26 years of practice. Providence had moved in big time, and Goethe’s words have never been truer.

Next week in London, at the 2020 Rebellion I will endeavour to  be mindful and to “stay open to possibility at every opportunity”!

With love and solidarity,


Paul is a Trustee at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, he has studied with many teachers, and most recently with Stephen Bachelor, on his Secular Buddhism programme at Bodhi College. He regularly offers Mindfulness based courses for both activists and the wider communities. He no longer offers work to Corporations. All is work is given freely.

First, do no harm

By Katja

First, do no harm.

Not doing harm is the first precept or training principle in Buddhism. Not harming is also part of the Hippocratic oath that was part of my training as a doctor.

But what does it really mean to not harm? For me personally, it means being ethical and truthful to those around me. It means not eating meat. It means trying to live a simple life. 

Nowadays my work is more about the health of populations rather than clinical work with individuals. And here not harming is much broader. Harming is continuing a system that destroys the planet we live on and is our basis for life. Harming is continuing the traffic that creates the pollution that gives young children asthma and kills people in my city. Our continuing addiction to fossil fuels and consumption in general is harmful. And not telling the truth about the possible catastrophic consequences of climate change is harmful too. 

That’s why I joined XR. I don’t like causing inconvenience or blocking roads or even standing out. In fact, I have spent lots of effort on blending in as best as I can, first as a working-class person at college and uni and then as a foreigner in the UK. But after years of making personal changes and campaigning in less obstructive ways, I feel non-violent civil disobedience is the only option left.

Last rebellion there was one day after the protest had effectively been banned where we were marching and I really felt intimidated by the amount of police. Police standing on the side of the road, police on horses, police in helicopters. I must have looked terrified when a fellow rebel saw my tears and was kind. That helped me to go on. I felt fear but I also felt intensely connected to my values and this community of like-minded people. For me its really important not just that I protest but also how, and I am glad to have found a way with XR (and XR Buddhists) to stand for what I believe in and hopefully make a change – avoid harm.

Katja is a member of XR Buddhists

To share your own story and photo to inspire Buddhist rebels email web@xrbuddhists.com

The valuable gift of COMMUNITY

By Joseph Mishan

Joe meditating in front of a police line

Actually what stays with me from the April 2019 rebellion when this photo was taken (that’s me sitting), is not the lines of police, the arrests or even the powerful meditations I engaged in. It was the experience of community. I have never before been a part of such closeness, passion and just overall love and good-will in any community or group. It is this that has endured in my memory and heart; and  have heard this echoed by many rebels after each rebellion.

The Buddha’s response to his cousin Ananda’s suggestion that the sangha was ‘half of the holy life’ was to say “do not say so Ananda; the sangha is the whole of the holy life.’ I feel greatly privileged to be part of the XR and XR Buddhists community; it has helped me – perhaps forced me –  out beyond my small sense of self, into a profound sense of interconnection with others and with this precious planet of which we are all part. This is an incalculably valuable gift.

Joseph Mishan is a mindfulness teacher in the Vipassana tradition, a psychotherapist and the coordinator of Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement in London and a joint coordinator of XR Buddhists UK. 

To share your own story and photo and inspire other rebels email web@xrbuddhists.com

Preparing for rebellion

Satya writes for Buddhistdoor magazine:

“In five weeks’ time I will be traveling from our small rural town to London for a fortnight of rebellion. I will probably do some things that are illegal. I may get arrested. I heard anecdotally last week that those willing to be arrested are often supported by their faith. Is that true? How did I get here again and, as peace-loving Buddhist, why am I planning on causing disruption?”

Read the article here: Preparing For Rebellion

Satya is co-coordinator of XR Buddhists, a Buddhist priest, a psychotherapist. & writer.