Bridging the Divide
A Statement on the Conflict from the Israeli Dharma Teachers and Facilitators
The intention of Dharma teachings is to bring an end to suffering for all. As Dharma practitioners we are aiming to better understand suffering; to know its causes and how to bring it to an end in ourselves and in the world around us.
For us as Israelis, this implies a call to open to and acknowledge the suffering of all those impacted by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As practitioners devoted to the cultivation of clear seeing and an open heart, we have the ability and the response-ability to look at the situation of ongoing suffering in which we are living.
Opening to the suffering of Palestinians is not political, it’s humane; a clear seeing of the reality of their lives includes a recognition of the ongoing violation of their basic human rights. Human rights that we all expect to have ourselves, and wish for all beings. Human rights such as freedom of movement, safety for children ( children of 14 years old are regularly arrested and detained without trial for months), adequate health care, education and legal rights.
Our Sangha consists of individuals with a diversity of political views. Dharma practice provides a home for all of us. It is our wish to depoliticize human rights, peace and liberty. So that none are outside the circle of those we care about. So that we can act in accordance with the deepest wisdom and compassion that are our true nature and our human birthright.
By remaining true to a commitment of non-harming, non-reactivity and the recognition of the inter-dependence of all things, let us bring full attention to the situation here.
By bringing clear seeing to the violence between Palestinians and Israelis we can work towards the ending of suffering. We can acknowledge:
Many of us have suffered the direct results of this cycle of violence;
We are all suffering from the indirect impact of this cycle of violence;
And most of us are, consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, contributing to this cycle.
As a Sangha, we can support each other in the process of opening to this reality, and working with the pain it brings up. We can support each other in working to uproot the fear and ignorance that are at the root of the occupation, both in ourselves and in our society. We can work together to alleviate some of the suffering that is a result of the occupation, bringing relief and friendship to this difficult reality. And we can raise a positive voice of compassion, trust, understanding and acceptance to counter that of hatred, mistrust, fear and aggression.
The Dharma community has much to offer in transforming the current atmosphere rooted in fear, separation and ignorance. We have much to offer in creating an atmosphere of reconciliation, tolerance and empathy. The ethical values and clear seeing cultivated in our practice are essential in nourishing a reality rooted in compassion and freedom.
We can undertake in our practice as individuals and as a Sangha:
To know about the violence and the injustice happening in the occupied territories and the suffering that results from them,
To investigate the roots of fear and violence within us and to cultivate compassion and clarity,
To support actions that halt the violence and nourish reconciliation,
To awaken awareness and dialogue within our Dharma community in order to facilitate the above.
May all beings live in peace and safety,
May all beings live with dignity and justice,
May all beings be free.
The list of International Teachers who support this statement: