Racial Justice

Contemplative reflection on the suffering of living beings is not enough; we must help diminish suffering through compassionate involvement.

Thich Nhat Hanh
In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Prize

Indigo Sangha’s Actions for Justice

Indigo Sangha is a diverse mindfulness practice community. Through study and practice, our White members are intentionally waking ourselves up to the reality of now–truths long understood by our friends of color. We see that, in reality:

  • The extreme racism, exploitation, and oppression of America’s past continues today
  • Old forms of oppression and exploitation manifest in new ways
  • Yes, White people are privileged in society. While it’s not our “fault,” we can be criticized to the degree in which we knowingly accept unearned privilege and do nothing to correct the systems that advantage us
  • We cannot heal what we are unwilling to touch with mindfulness and compassion

Entrenched patterns of division in society’s collective consciousness amplify and distort insignificant differences between people of various races, genders, classes, sexual orientations, immigrants, the physically and mentally disabled and other marginalized communities. We can see we are products of a divisive society in which each of us has been taught to believe things that are harmful to ourselves and others.

We see White dominance and unconscious bias harms those who are marginalized, warps White humanity, and even damages the earth.

We are determined to name and neutralize personal and societal habits of supremacy and exploitation.

Without shame or blame, White members of Indigo Sangha are doing the work to look deeply into our complicity in perpetuating racist systems. We are learning to step back so others may step up thereby centering the wisdom of marginalized voices. We are considering together how we can become better friends and allies to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and their organizations.

Everyone knows that peace has to begin with oneself, but not many people know how to do it.

Thich Nhat Hanh

8:46 Seconds of Silence for George Floyd

At noon on July 20, 2020, Indigo Sangha members acted in solidarity with people across the country who are standing up for Black lives. In memory of George Floyd and those taken too soon by unnecessary violence, sangha members participated in the #StrikeForBlackLives by holding silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Indigo Sangha Takes Direct Action: A Peaceful Protest in Charleston, SC

Indigo Sangha members in peaceful demonstration.
Photos by our friend, Rev. Thomas Dixon.

On July 5, 2020, members of Indigo Sangha added our stable energy and the insight of our interbeing with Black lives to the ongoing counter protest at the Battery in Charleston, SC. Every Sunday morning, a small group of White people fly the Confederate flag at the Battery. In response, a local non-profit–Uplift Charleston–has led a peaceful and effective counter protest. At this time of global pandemic, Indigo Sangha joined the Uplift Charleston effort by practicing peaceful sitting and walking meditation in solidarity with Black lives.

We practiced moment to moment awareness of our body, feelings, and thoughts. While we couldn’t control the actions of those around us, each of us could control our responses. Embodying peace in the moment, as taught by our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, we watered seeds of compassion, saw clearly the suffering in ourselves and others, let go of ideologies and discriminative thinking, respected the rights of others to be different as we simultaneously helped them transform narrowness, and took a clear stand against oppression and injustice.

Heather Mann, Spiritual Director of Indigo Sangha

Check out this abc 4 News coverage of the sangha’s involvement in the event.

Contact us to learn more about Indigo Sangha’s efforts to heal and transform racism in ourselves, one another, and all people.

Mindfulness must be engaged. Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and acting go together. Otherwise, what is the use of seeing?

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Global Plum Village Community Embraces Racial Justice

Thay Phap Dung

The Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism, of which Indigo Sangha is a part, is standing up against oppression and for justice. Here are several links to learn more about the global community’s response :

  • Click here to read Engaging Together for Change: An Invitation by Thay Phap Dung
  • Click here to read A Call to Love in Action by ARISE–Awakening to Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity
  • Click here to see the Earth Holder Community Statement of Support & Commitment in Solidarity with Racial and Earth Justice by the organization’s Care Taking Council
Our Plum Village Brothers and Sisters at ARISE Sangha