Dear Sangha,

As we write this statement, more than 35,000 people have been killed by Israel's assault on Palestine. These numbers do not capture everyone under the rubble. Many more people continue to die of starvation. As a Dharma organization, we are called to respond to the devastation of Gaza and to add our voices to the global demand for a permanent ceasefire and for humanitarian aid to be provided to Palestine.

We learn from our tradition that “In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.” (Dhammapada 3-5) As we call for an end to the ongoing massacre, dispossession, and dehumanization of the Palestinian people, we also lament the killing of over 1,200 Israelis and the abduction of some 240 people as hostages last October 7. We have watched in distress as these Israeli deaths have been used as justification for terrible violence. Jewish ancestral trauma has been weaponized, while generations of occupation and apartheid in Palestine have been erased or minimized.

We reject Islamophobia and antisemitism; we grieve past and present wrongs rooted in colonialism, oppression, discrimination, and injustice. We wish for justice, as well as for peace and safety, for Arabs of all faiths and Jews - in the Middle East and around the world. We advocate for dialogue, deep listening, understanding and reconciliation. We call for basic human rights and dignity for all.

In these past months, we've engaged in reflective dialogues within our sangha, with those seeking refuge in community. In our BIPOC sangha, we have heard how witnessing the siege of Gaza has retraumatized those who have experienced displacement, war, and colonization. We have also heard from Jewish sangha members who are distressed by the rise in antisemitism and polarization; they seek connection, clarity, and wisdom in the face of ancestral trauma.

As a sangha, we are one body, and together we are a living expression of one of the Three Precious Jewels. We are interconnected and interdependent; we affirm the values of wisdom and compassion among all our beloved sangha groups.

We recognize that this message might feel inadequate to some or activating to others. Our intention is to speak from truth and compassion, encouraging mindfulness and skillful action, fostering empathy, healing and mutual respect. Let us continue to learn and unlearn, striving towards a world where Palestine is free, and all beings may live free from fear and oppression.


With friendship, compassion and solidarity,

True North Insight Board and Guiding Teachers