Who are XR Buddhists?
XR Buddhists is a group of Buddhist practitioners from across the traditions, including groups sympathetic to Buddhist teachings or practices. We are united by our deep concern about the climate and ecological emergency facing our one precious planet. XR Buddhists grew out of Dharma Action Network for Climate for Climate Engagement (DANCE) in 2019 with the intention of developing closer links to Extinction Rebellion. We are one of the many faith groups within XR and have a close relationship with these groups.
Tell me more about Rebellions? See this Q&A: The August Rebellion and What to Expect.
What does a typical XR Buddhist action involve?
All our actions are rooted in our commitment to peace and compassion; they are strictly non-violent; this is a also founding principle of XR as a whole. Mostly they involve nothing more than meditating with other members of the group in public.
Whenever possible before an action we gather as a group in a quiet place to connect with ourselves and each other, and to reflect on why we are taking this particular action. After the action we meet again to reflect on and share our experience and to discuss further actions. Our actions usually involve silent meditations with placards to communicate a message as we sit or walk. Recently we have been focussing on Barclays Bank because of its support for the fossil fuel industry. We have sat in meditation outside or inside the bank – or both. During previous XR rebellions we have blocked roads by sitting in meditation, and we have organised a 24-hour vigil outside Parliament together with other faith groups. We are also involved in running meditations and workshops to support other XR groups.
Do I have to be prepared get arrested to play a useful role?
No! You don’t have to get arrested to make a valuable contribution to the group. The majority of our actions are in any case non-arrestable (we have never been arrested in our actions at Barclays for example). There are many other ways you can offer to contribute to the campaign, from making banners, to tech support, outreach, well-being support and much more. The decision to be arrested is one for each person to make depending on their own circumstances. For some getting arrested may be risky for personal or work-related reasons, for others it is an option. We encourage everyone to take time to reflect on the personal consequences and the motivation for this decision. This may involve discussion with others who have been arrested or those in a similar situation or profession. Those who are willing to risk arrest are offered training, and there is an ‘arrestee support’ team in XR as well as identified legal firms who can offer information and support.
Do I have to identify as a Buddhist to get involved?
No. Many in the group would also not identify as Buddhists. For example, we have Brighton XR Meditators as an integral part of the group. We would however hold to the central principle of non-violence, Buddhist practices and philosophy.
Can I just come to a meeting without commitment?
Absolutely. There is no formal membership process. You are more than welcome to join one of our regular meetings and see what’s going on, or join one of our chat groups. There is a big range in the time and commitment members can offer which will of course depend on your personal situation. It is always encouraging to us to have new members popping in: please feel free to dip in – and out!
Who do I contact for more information or if I have any questions?
Please do not hesitate to contact us via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org; we would be delighted to hear from you. We can also connect you if you wish to our messaging systems so you will get notified of our meetings and to what’s going on day to day.
I’m interested in starting my own XR Buddhists group…
Wonderful! We have a guide to doing just that here.
How can I find out more?