Vigil at St Thomas's

There is a vigil being held, 8 am to 8 pm, all this week at St. Thomas's for the Week of  Action for Trade Justice, as part of the MakePovertyHistory campaign. Our Buddhists For Peace group decided to adopt this campaign as part of our activities for creating better conditions in the world. Sujatin took part in the vigil on Wednesday.  

Newsletter: Spring 2005

 Amida Newcastle Group
We continue to meet regularly at Amida Sanctuary on Monday evenings at 7:30pm for walking and sitting meditation, Dharma talk or tape and discussion, concluding with the Evening Service. This is a lively, friendly group. In addition to regular members there are now a number of new faces including Ching-Ying, Perry, Sally, Steve and Yoke Ling and occasional visitors including Dennis from Middlesborough and long-term Amida member Iain from Durham

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Buddhists For Peace - meeting Thursday 24th February

Next meeting - Thursday 24th February 2005
Time: 7.30pm 
Venue: Amida Sanctuary

Resources for Engaged Buddhism - Magazines

Peace Matters -- Quarterly magazine published by the Peace Pledge Union

Turning Wheel: Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism (USA).
Available from Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Box 4650, Berkeley, CA 94704, tel: 510/655 --6169,

Seeds of Peace: available from International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB),
P.O. Box 19,Mahadthai Post Office, Bangkok 10206 Thailand,tel/fax: [6 6 --2] 433 -- 7169,

Resources for Engaged Buddhism - Videos

Life on Earth Perhaps (29 minutes)

- reminds us that the development of military technology has made war too damaging
to be considered a viable military option.
(Available from the Movement for the Abolition of War website)

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Resources for Engaged Buddhism - Books

Saying No to Violence: Children and Peace -- educational book available via Peace Research and Education Trust

Remembering War, Searching for Peace -- educational book available via Peace Research and Education Trust

Working Together: A Handbook for Co-operation -- available from the Peace Pledge Union

War Prevention Works - 50 Stories of People Resolving Conflict.
Oxford Research Group, 2001, 126pp.
ISBN 0 -- 9511361 -- 6 -- X.

Peace: The Plain Man's Guide to War Prevention.  Hugh Hanning,
Woolf, London, 1988.
ISBN 0-900821-9 2-2

The New Buddhism -- a Rough Guide to a New Way of Life: David Brazier,
Robinson, 2001

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Resources for Engaged Buddhism - websites

Peace Pledge Union -- includes a lot of information and resources:

The Peace Research and Education Trust (a charity set up to provide advice and information on the causes and effects of war and violence and peaceful resolution, part of Peace Pledge Union) -- including resources for schools geared to the UK national curriculum:

Movement for the Abolition of War -- information, resources and events promoting alternatives to war:

Network of Engaged Buddhists --

Buddhist Peace Fellowship -- active in many parts of the USA.  Includes resource list:

Some Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism

  Remember that self-transformation is primary!
· Keep a balance between inner reflection and outward action
· Practice clear nonviolent communication
· Be aware of negative states of mind that arise from your activity -- e.g. hatred, anxiety
· Think about ethical issues that come out of your activism and talk about them with other Buddhists
· Be clear about whether you are happy with the aims and methods of any groups you belong to
· Always question polarised opinions -- in yourself or others
· Be clear from the outset about what you are trying to achieve through your activity and how much time you are able to spend on it
· Don't expect to get it all right and perfect. 
Remember that Dharma practitioners don't claim to have all the answers but are prepared to consider and get involved in realms of suffering from a Dharmic perspective
· Make your activities enriching, doing things that you your self and other people will want to join in with -- ' magical, musical and fun'


The role of group leaders:

Encouraging people's enthusiasms rather than imposing your own ideas
Encouraging ethical awareness
Keeping a Dharmic perspective
Exemplifying peace in your own life

Thanks to Akuppa - contact him through Sujatin

Peace Action Pack

Some ideas

· Meditating for peace in a public place, maybe linking up with other groups
· Joining in existing activities e.g. marches
· Host a peace meditation at the centre
· Visit other faith communities
· Give public talks on peace
· Offer to visit schools to talk about war and peace as part of their international citizenship program. 
For useful material to take, try the Peace Pledge Union website --
· Create a space for people to talk about their experiences
· Have a notice board for ' engaged Buddhist' issues, with a person nominated to look after it
· Build up a resource library (e.g. magazines, videos) -- see resource list.
  Have a peace section in your centre library.
· Organize training in non-violent communication or conflict resolution
· Offer the centre as a meeting space for other peace groups
· Refer to peace issues in the context of Dharma talks, etc.
· Take on a project -- e.g. a peace garden in a local park
· Have a collective letter writing session
· Invite a local MP to talk about peace issues
· Supply white poppies on Remembrance Day (see link to peace pledge union website)
· Put on a course on engaged Buddhism or a related subject
· Organize 'fun' gets togethers for people interested (drumming, hiking, storytelling around bonfires etc ...)

Buddhists For Peace - previous action

Action during the visit of President Bush to the UK

Our Newcastle Buddhists For Peace group organised a candlelight vigil at Grey's Monument from 6pm on Thursday 20th November 2002.We sat in silent meditation for an hour, with candles and posters identifying our group and why we were there.We also wore 'Buddhists For Peace' badges. We were filmed by T.V. and photographed many times by press and some students from Sunderland University.

This was an action first for most of the group and therefore a slightly challenging occasion. The consensus, discussed over tea as we thawed out in The Buddhist Centre, was that it had been an uplifting and inspirational thing to do, which will encourage others to join us who have felt either shy or that 'Buddhists don't do this sort of thing'.

We were surrounded by crowds who had come into the city centre to see Alan Shearer, a local footballing hero, who had come to turn on the Christmas lights. So there were disc jockeys, entertainers and loudly cheering crowds a little further down the street. In spite of the noise and the crowd's intention of spending large amounts of money - all-in-all a far from ideal situation for quiet meditation and reflection - we were an island of peace.

A number of the crowd came up to ask questions. A few children who had initially looked as though they might intend mischief, came up to relight candles that had gone out and a few of them joined us to sit in silence.Akuppa taught them some simple meditation at the end of our sitting.

For further details contact Sujatin