The Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), a nonsectarian international network of engaged Buddhists based in the United States, has announced plans to hire for two new co-director positions as it transitions through a period of reorganization. The two new positions are co-director of operations and co-director of resource mobilization.
The organization, founded in 1978 by Robert Aitken Roshi (1917 – 2010), has sought to apply principles of Buddhism and activism to promote peace and justice in the world. The two new positions will join two other co-directors hired earlier this year, Kate Johnson and Sarwang Parikh, co-directors of programing and partnerships.
In the fall of 2021, BPF entered a period of transition, pausing public programs and communications. At that time, three staff members: Katie Loncke, Chika Okoye, and Nathan Thompson all exited their positions. Meanwhile, board member Sarwang Parikh took over the role of interim director.
In their winter 2021 update, they reflected on the history of BPF and the future they wished to see, writing, “In the last decade, BPF leaders have mirrored the work of progressive movements to center those most impacted by oppression. An organization founded by white Buddhists engaged in direct action moved to center BIPOC spiritual needs as individuals and to create programs to best meet those needs. In focusing on individuals, we fell out of relationship with movements.” They continued, “At this next turn, we remain committed to being led by BIPOC folks who share our commitments to queer feminism, anti-capitalism, and collective liberation rooted on this Earth.” (Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
In the following year, BPF formed an interim teachers council comprised of Leslie Booker, a Dharma teacher in the Spirit Rock tradition and co-author of Best Practices for Yoga in a Criminal Justice Setting (CreateSpace 2017); Mushim (Patricia) Ikeda, a Buddhist and secular mindfulness teacher and core teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California; Lama Rod Owens, an author, activist, and authorized lama in the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism; and Dalila Bothwell, a graduate of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders Program and long-time director of the New York Insight Meditation Center.
In spring 2022, BPF continued its discussions of transformation and re-engagement with the world. They note in their newsletter that lively conversations arose on this topic:
As Leslie Booker succinctly highlighted, “Many Buddhists [still] don’t understand that the practice is meant to be engaged… We practice so that we can engage with other people… We practice to find resolution to conflict… We practice to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed.” Dalila Bothwell followed up with a further reflection on convert Buddhism, saying “If we’re engaging, it is on a community level.” Lama Rod Owens encourages BPF to continue to get clearer about what BPF has to offer our movements at this moment and how Buddhism can be relevant to activists.(Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
The two new positions are remote positions based in the United States. Applications are accepted through 29 October. More information about the positions is available at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship website.
Work at Buddhist Peace Fellowship (Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
Buddhist Peace Fellowship Transition Statement (Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
2021 Winter Solstice Update (Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
Spring 2022 Update (Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
We’re Hiring (Buddhist Peace Fellowship)
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