Social Action

Shakyamuni Buddha set out to find a way to relieve human suffering. He realized that it needs a major shift in consciousness. But before that can happen, basic needs must be met: food, shelter, and safety are necessary for peace of mind.

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is a national organization, and there is also a local chapter here in Milwaukee. We meet once a month to enjoy each other’s company, and make plans for peaceful events of social action. On the second Monday of every month a meal is cooked and served for homeless men at the Milwaukee Guesthouse.


On the first Tuesday of every month, we meet with other interfaith members at a vigil for refugees and immigrants at the Ascension Lutheran Church at 1236 S. Layton Blvd. The New Sanctuary Movement invites everyone to witness the stories of recent new residents in our city. We collect furniture, food, and clothes for people who often come with nothing. Every month a different faith group leads the program with a short service.

Last week I listened to a talk by Dr. Barbara Ransby, who is a professor of African-American studies and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The event at Marquette University was well-attended, and there was a lively discussion afterwards.

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This Fall, Milwaukee Zen Center hosts the Branching Streams Conference, which happens every other year at a different place. Branching Streams is a network of Dharma Centers in the Shunryu Suzuki lineage. A Planning Committee has been formed, which recently met for the first time at Siena Retreat Center, where the event will take place. This is a great honor for our sangha, and we are looking forward to welcoming many practitioners from all over the country. The theme for this year’s conference is SOCIAL JUSTICE.