Ex-banker turned Hindu monk urges Wall St to meditate

November 18, 2011

Tom Heneghan: Rasanath Das, an ex-investment banker turned Hindu monk, was spending recent Sunday afternoons leading Occupy Wall Street protesters in meditation until police cleared their camp at New York’s Zuccotti Park this week.

The 32-year-old monk isn’t sure now where his next session will be. He’ll keep following the protesters to lead meditation, though, convinced they will only roll back the inequality around them if they find equanimity deep inside.

“Anger won’t solve anything,” he told Reuters. “We have to work from the heart … there is so much distrust now.”

Das has been a discreet presence at the protests, leading short sessions …

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The path of nonviolence: six principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

November 15, 2011

MLKSunada drew my attention to this detailed exposition by Dr. King on the principles and practice of nonviolence. I thought it was worth reposting in its entirety, especially given the levels of violence being directed against the Occupy protestors, and the need for the movement to remain nonviolent:

First, it must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent. This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight … The method is passive physically, but

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Meditators arrested in Occupy Oakland protest

November 14, 2011



Protestors meditate as police move in to arrest them at the Occupy Oakland encampment.

At least a dozen spiritual leaders were arrested in the evacuation of Occupy Oakland on Monday morning as they sat in a candlelit circle in front of the camp’s interfaith tent, according to Salon.com‘s Emily Loftis. They were among 32 people arrested by riot police.

“They wanted to hold the sacred space and be a peaceful presence,” said Jon Jackson, deacon at the First Congregational Church of Oakland, a camp participant who chose not to be arrested. According to witnesses, the arrested included Kurt Khuwald, a professor at the Starr King seminary in Berkeley, Father Joseph Vitale, who

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Occupy Vancouver protest had a peaceful buzz

October 17, 2011

Charlie Smith: Yesterday’s Occupy Vancouver demonstration differed significantly from most protests held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

One of the most striking aspects was the lack of any hierarchy. The event opened with a speech outlining how people could give their consent for various activities. Later, I observed the crowd being asked if it would prefer to hear more speeches or go on a march through downtown Vancouver.

The unions, for the most part, remained at the back of the crowd, along with the Communists and groups like No One is Illegal. And tucked away on the northwest corner of the site…

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Buddhists speak on Occupy Wall Street

October 15, 2011

Thanks to Maia Duerr and the follow-up comments on a post on her blog, the Jizo Chronicles, here’s a quick round-up of some of the recent posts that Buddhists have made on the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon.

  • There’s a post by Maia herself, along with Roshi Joan Halifax: “This is What Compassion Looks Like.”
  • Nathan Thompson has post on “Occupy Minnesota: Zen Style” on his blog, Dangerous Harvests where he describes “coming out” as a Zen Buddhist at a peaceful protest.
  • Chris Wilson, president of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship board of directors, compares OWS to the Arab Spring and asks why engaged Buddhists should get involves. Chris states that BPF
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Meditation at Occupy Wall Street

October 14, 2011

For those who may wish to meditate, and help create a peaceful atmosphere at Occupy Wall Street events, here are some upcoming dates, courtesy of The Jizo Chronicles:

Oct 15: Occupy the Present Moment in solidarity with OWS. Where: Santa Fe, NM. Click here for more info.

Oct 15: Occupy the Present Moment in solidarity with OWS. Where: Vancouver, BC For more info: Click here for more info.

Oct 15: Meditation at the Occupy Vermont event. Where: Montpelier, VT For more info: Click here for more info.

Oct 16: Public Meditation at Occupy Wall Street. Where: New York City, meet at the steps of Trinity Church at 3 pm. For more info: Click here Read more »

The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

October 14, 2011

The Buddha’s concerns with politics — or at least those what found their way into his teachings and have been recorded — were very limited.

Perhaps this isn’t surprising, since he lived at a time when kingdoms ruled by absolute monarchs were expanding their territory at the expense of clan-based republics and other kingdoms. The rise of monarchies was probably unstoppable, and there was little chance of any alternative for the foreseeable future.

Some of the kings were notoriously paranoid, placed spies in religious communities, and would literally kill their own parents to consolidate their power. It would have been very dangerous to criticize them directly, and so the Buddha’s emphasis in talking about politics … Read more »

Robert Thurman talks at Occupy Wall Street

October 14, 2011

Robert Thurman, the Buddhist writer and Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, gave a rousing address to the protestors at Occupy Wall Street, encouraging “cool heroes” (i.e. non-violent heroes) as opposed to “hot heroes” (those motivated by anger and hatred).

The address is frequently very funny. The people who were assigned to repeat his words, in order to make them audible to the large crowd were often too busy laughing to be able to effectively relay Thurman’s message.