A Letter to Our Community

June 2, 2020

Dear Philadelphia Shambhala Center Community,

As practitioners in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition we are called on to hold our conviction in basic goodness in our hearts and minds, as we work to liberate all beings from suffering. Therefore, to end suffering, we are also called on to undo the injustice and inequality that is deeply embedded in our history as a nation and to say, as a community of practitioners working to create a more enlightened society, that Black Lives Matter.

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the countless others who have been victims of police violence, serve as indelible evidence of the inequalities and suffering that people of color face every day, throughout America and here in Philadelphia – a situation many, many generations in the making. 

This is a time when what each of us does next really does matter. We need to feel our heartbreak as violence continues, to empathize with the outrage, frustration and fear that is manifesting now. And we must each search deep inside ourselves over the coming days, weeks and months, and decide what we ourselves can do to contribute to change and healing. 

We respect the diversity of feeling and experience that exists in our community, and acknowledge that each of us will have our own personal approach to doing something. Uncertainty may arise when we try and figure out what the “right” thing to do is. Always, the basis of right action is the willingness to be present to suffering. As James Baldwin has said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We encourage you to share your feelings, experiences and what you are inspired to do with the community on the Philadelphia Shambhala Center google group. (if you are not a member, please request access from [email protected] or [email protected]).

When we find ourselves participating in a culture that values some lives over others, we must call out that inequity with our voices and our actions; whether it is based on race, gender, class or power. We must stand with all those demanding justice and equity. At the Philadelphia Shambhala Center, we stand with love, compassion, and non-aggression, honoring the humanity of all.

The Transitional Leadership Team:
Adam Tecza
Alexander deVaron

Cori Gracheck

Marc Scheiner

Mark Jacobson

John Hexem
Judy Luther

Jude Robison

Kari Hexem

Kris Stinson