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The Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF)


Abstract

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to socially engaged Buddhism and progressive social change. Combining meditation and social action, BPF is committed to nonviolence, Buddhist ecumenism, and participatory decision-making. Through its publications, events, and programs, BPF works for a sustainable environment, economic justice, social equity, and human rights. It seeks to recognize the interdependence of all beings and to meet suffering with compassion. Contending that social change must begin at the grassroots level, BPF supports Buddhist-inspired work in local communities through its chapter affiliates and volunteers in the United States (US) and abroad. BPF has thirty-five chapters in the US as well as international chapters and affiliates in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom (UK). Among its long-standing work on human rights, peace, and social justice, BPF has recently launched a new initiative aimed at reforming US energy policies. The Buddhist Energy Reform (BER) initiative seeks to create nonviolent alternatives to the current national energy policy by providing resources, discussion forums, and an activity calendar for engaged Buddhists interested in energy reform. The BER initiative aims to promote renewable energy at the municipal level; increase car mileage standards at the state level; and lobby corporations, public utilities, and government bodies to provide greater subsidies for consumer conservation and renewable energy investments such as solar panels and energy efficient appliances. In addition to its programs and campaigns, BPF publishes a quarterly magazine, Turning Wheel, and welcomes Buddhists from all traditions. The BPF currently has 4,500 members.

Religion

Buddhism

Geographic Location

International
Duration of Project 1978–Present
History

Founded at the Maui Zendo in 1978 by Nelson Foster, Robert and Anne Aitken, and several Zen friends, BPF was the first socially engaged Buddhist organization in the West. Soon after its founding, Gary Snyder, Joanna Macy, Jack Kornfield, Al Bloom, and others joined the Fellowship. BPF began as a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to nonviolent social change. During the initial years, emphasis was placed on constructing a doctrinal and historical basis for engaged Buddhism by drawing on the Theravada, Tibetan, Zen, and Pure Land traditions. Within a year of its founding there were fifty members, primarily consisting of Euro-American Zen practitioners in Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay Area. By the early 1980s, BPF had blossomed to include several hundred members, its first local chapters, a new headquarters in Berkeley, California, and a part-time coordinator. Since the beginning, BPF has worked for social and environmental awareness in the US as well as nuclear disarmament, democracy, and human rights in Tibet, Burma, and elsewhere. In 2002, BPF launched its new Buddhist Energy Reform initiative to engage American Buddhists in finding alternatives to the nation’s energy policy.

Mission Statement “The mission of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), founded in 1978, is to serve as a catalyst and agent for socially engaged Buddhism. Our aim is to help beings liberate themselves from the suffering that manifests in individuals, relationships, institutions, and social systems. BPF’s programs, publications, and practice groups link Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion with progressive social change.”
Partner Organizations Dharma Gaia Trust
International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF)
P.O. Box 3470
Berkeley, CA 94703
Ph:       510.655.6169
Fax:      510.655.1369
Email:   (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)