Soto Zen priest Ben Connelly shares why we must listen to the call from Indigenous leaders to find ways to show up to protect our water and stop Enbridge's proposed oil pipeline, Line 3. “I hope you will show up in a good way,” said Ojibwe Great Grandmother Mary Lyons, surrounded by her daughters and granddaughters. Behind them lay a glittering lake, towering trees, and representatives of half a dozen religious traditions bearing signs that read, “Stop Line 3.” She’d just given an unflinching talk on the living legacy of violence the land and her people have experienced at the hands of settlers and their descendents — white folks like me. Standing behind her in the robes of a Zen priest, I felt the heat of both the warmth of her heart and her fierce challenge to my place in ongoing oppression. How will we show up to protect the waters in a prayerful, powerful way? As the prayer circle concluded and the press corps bagged their gear, an Indigenous woman grabbed the microphone and gave a blunt exhortation for us to enter the nonviolent direct action in the day ahead with courage and fire. I took a breath and recalled my vows to embody liberation for all beings, to meet the suffering and violence of samsara with ahimsa, or nonviolence, and to meet whatever the police, with funding from the pipeline company Enbridge, would bring with my whole being. The Line 3 pipeline is being built by Enbridge to carry tar sands oil from Canada into the US through treaty protected Anishinaabe lands in northern Minnesota. The proposed pipeline passes through sacred wild rice beds, and crosses many rivers including beneath the Mississippi river at two points. Pipelines leak and spill, sex trafficking of Indigenous women follows fossil fuel projects, and there is consensus among climate change experts that new fossil fuel infrastructure is counterproductive. Indigenous leaders have been working to stop the construction of Line 3 for years, and many veterans of the powerful resistance to the Dakota pipeline at Standing Rock have brought their energy to Minnesota. These movements work. After ten years of dogged resistance, the Keystone XL pipeline was scrapped in June, 2021. As a Buddhist priest, I am trained to focus on practice. Practice here has two senses: to practice is to do, and what we practice is what we get good at. In every moment, we practice actions of body, thought, perception, and emotion. These create our life. This is a simple way to think of karma. As a student of Yogacara Buddhism, I understand that our karma is collective, for all things are of dependent nature. What we each practice affects all. Listening to Indigenous elders, I often hear “Show up in a good way,” and “we are all relations.” As a Buddhist I believe that to recognize that everything is my family and practice the best I can is the way to embody the vow to live for the liberation of all beings. Last year, I sat around a campfire with a diverse group of religious leaders called onto Anishinaabe land by Indigenous activist Winona LaDuke to create a vision for stopping Line 3. Winona gave no time for othering and blaming. Whenever the conversation drifted to complaining about Enbridge, the government, or police violence, Winona would fiercely call us back to our practice; how will we show up to protect the waters in a prayerful, powerful way? Ignorance — along with desire and aversion — drives the wheel of suffering. As a white man, I am part of years of practice of ignoring or being ignorant of the violence and oppression that provide me with safety, convenience, and wealth. The history I was taught, the unpolluted neighborhoods, access to good food, clean water, education, lack of police harassment... These all create my experience of the world. If I do not practice ignoring though, it is quite plain that benefits come to me through systems that harm animals, plants, ecosystems, and people who are less privileged than I. To look directly at how we ignore or are ignorant of harmful patterns is a central element of Buddhist practice. The practice of clear seeing opens us to intimacy with reality, with our interdependence. Buddhist teachings tell us that we are already in reality, so we can practice truly seeing it, even if it is hard sometimes, for seeing it is liberation. When I follow the lead of folks from communities that are harmed to benefit me, it cracks my ignorance. I see more clearly, and we get more free. And so with a thousand peers, including many Buddhists, I marched down the highway, in blazing heat, behind the drums of our Indigenous elders, singing, bearing gorgeous banners emblazoned with “We are here to protect the water.” Famous people came to speak. Though we had prepared for arrest, only a handful of police came to observe. There was an atmosphere of prayer and determination. A few miles away at a related action, our colleagues occupied a pipeline pump station. A Customs and Border Protection helicopter came and used an intimidation technique they use on migrants at the Mexican border; they nearly landed the helicopter on the protestors, raising a hurricane of dirt and gravel that tore at their eyes, as the terrifying fury of the rotors came down upon them. The protesters remained, the helicopter left, and about two hundred were eventually arrested. Back on the highway, we sang on as a contingent of our group walked out into the floodplain where the drill is scheduled to drive Line 3 under the pristine Mississippi river. There they made an encampment for a four-day Indigenous ceremony directly atop the drilling site. Although the Anishinaabe have clear treaty rights to use these public lands for ceremony, fishing, and gathering, after seven days, the police came and evicted them to make way for Enbridge. There are camps all over northern Minnesota where folks are working to Stop Line 3. I hope we may learn from our Indigenous elders on this land, see that we are all kin, and find ways to show up, in a good way.