Recap of Sun Oct 16 3 pm WBPF "Being Present" Meditation at Occupy DC (2011)

Twelve of us attended today's WBPF gathering at Freedom Plaza in NW DC, at 3 pm, simultaneous with other Buddhist Peace Fellowship "Being Present" meditation events by BPF Chapters in New York City, Oakland CA, and Portland, OR, to bring mindfulness and support non-violence for the nationwide Occupy movement against global greed and delusion. We had a Dharma reading (Dhammapada "Hatred never ends through hatred ..."), a ten minute sit with bell, discussion, a song ("I have Arrived"), ending with a bell-lead moment of silence. In our own way each of us expressed gratitude for this opportunity to find a mindful way to participate in the Occupy DC movement at Freedom Plaza - and to mindfully face the challenge of how to work for vitally needed change without hatred toward the corporations and people who create such injustice through their unbounded greed & power - and other personal thoughts about engaged Buddhism for social justice. All thought it would be good to try to do meditation regularly at Occupy DC, possibly inviting others to join us. Afterwards some of us participated in an Interfaith discussion scheduled by Occupy DC at 3:30 pm; and some of us acquainted ourselves with the Occupy DC encampment, which is a safe, tolerant, non-violent and peaceful place. Any disturbances that have occurred were away from Freedom Plaza.

One such disturbance was when Occupy DC demonstrators from the group Stop the Machine tried to forcefully enter the Air & Space Museum on Saturday (Oct 15) , and today (Oct 16) there was a planned civil disobedience and several arrests at the Supreme Court lead by activist and professor Cornel West . In all cases individuals decide themselves whether to participate in these demonstrations away from Freedom Plaza. Occupy DC's permit to camp at Freedom Plaza has been extended 4 months, so, for the time being, eviction scuffles like at Occupy Wall Street in NYC are unlikely at Freedom Plaza. There are 4 porta-potties at the west end of the plaza. Nearby Starbucks bathrooms were marked "closed -- out of order". We learned that there is another Occupy DC encampment at McPherson Square NE DC, which coordinates with Occupy DC at Freedom Plaza.

Whether or not you were with us at Freedom Plaza today, or meditated about Occupy DC at some other place or time, or took a moment for mindful breathing, or loving kindness/tonglen practice -- please consider discussing your thoughts about this event or mindful engagement with the Occupy movement on our public WBPF Blog or on our private MeetUp/washingtonBPF (login needed)

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Thanks to Aimee for this meditation circle photo.