Buddhas not Bombs had the biggest turn out yet last night at Pioneer Courthouse Square. One of the members lit incense that was held up by his convenient shoe/incense holder.
The meditation began with a nod to the community as it began with a nod to refuge:
"I take refuge in the Buddhas, all my teachers. I take refuge in the Dharma, all my teachings. I take refuge in the Sangha, all the communities that support me."
The large group took up a good bit of space for the next half hour as they sat in meditation in one of the busiest areas of Portland. Its very easy to think that meditating out in public would be difficult, but it becomes clear that this "difficult" notion is just a concept of mind and not an intrinsic quality of meditating on the machine.
There was no going in or going out of oneself - its just a being witness to the machinery of downtown Portland. Its amazing to hear all the sounds that one normally doesn't hear when walking through that part of town: all the day to day conversations, the roar of traffic, the blaring of the MAX trains, the sound of people walking around you... you'll have to experience it for yourself in order to experience it. It was interesting distancing myself from all the visual corporate logos in the area and to see what was really down there.
The meditation ended with a nod to Metta Practice:
"May all beings be free from violence. May all beings be free from suffering. May all beings be at peace."
The PPRC demonstation than started. It started with news of the enormous starvation that is currently happening in Afghanistan with inadequate food transportation. News came of the captured Taliban fighters who had been transported to Guantanamo Base in Cuba where they were being kept in dog runs with only a mat for bedding. News came of the continued violence and escalation of conflict between Israel and Palestine. And news concerning the statements Senator Gordon Smith made about PSU and Corvallis. As usual, a lot of news came through that wasn't making it through corporate media.
We then marched down to the INS building on Broadway to protest treatment of non-citizens in the US.
I spent most of the time during the PPRC demonstration speaking with a Buddhist grandmother. She told me of her intense activism - against the war in Vietnam, against nuclear arms/power, and her work in Nicaragua. It was amazing to hear her story while we walked the streets of Portland to a darkening sky. People in shops flashed peace signs and ignored us and stared at us and wondered if we were crazy while she was telling me how she dropped out of society, about all the times she had been arrested....