The Clear View Project is an initiative to bring Buddhist-based resources together for relief and social change. The work comes out of founder Hozan Alan Senauke’s long experience in the world of socially engaged Buddhism in Asia and the U.S.
Just after last week’s election in the U.S., Alan wrote the following plea for support of Clear View’s projects in Burma and elsewhere—work that includes supporting monastics in their work for change, young monks who’ve been orphaned, and the families of political prisoners.
We note that today, Reuters reports Burma’s military junta has sentenced to 65 years in jail some 11 dissidents involved in last year’s protests—”a major blow to the pro-democracy movement before a 2010 election.”
From Alan Senauke, November 5, 2008:
Greetings from Berkeley and Clear View on this most auspicious day! I began the Clear View Project late in 2007, after making a Buddhist witness journey to Burma. Four of us arrived in Rangoon in December, just two months after the violent repression of Burma’s Saffron Revolution. Our journey was supported by nearly a hundred friends, who gave freely for material aid in Burma and travel expenses for the delegation. Returning to the U.S. I gave numerous slide shows, raising further funds, and was able to place articles about Burma in Turning Wheel, Buddhadharma, Shambhala Sun, Inquiring Mind, and various newsletters.
I know this may not be the best time to ask you for a donation of money, but last night, along with many friends — known and unknown — and suffering people around the globe, I rejoiced at the outcome of an historic election that literally changes the complexion of leadership in America. Our troubles, of course, are far from over. The economy has been in freefall, wars continue, and there is much to set right in the world. I try to hold the long view about what is important and necessary to do. Keep Suzuki Roshi’s words in mind:
“Even if the money you have is very little, you should pay respect to it, and you should make the best use of it. How you make the best use of it is to make it help our society.”
So, maybe this is exactly the right time to ask you to support Clear View’s vital work of engaged Buddhism in our global society — warm hand to warm hand — in Asia and here at home.
Clear View’s Burma work has an essential mission: supporting the Burmese sangha and organizing political and human rights work for democracy and change in Burma. We’ve been doing our best to bring this message to the Buddhist Community in the United States. Throughout 2008, Margaret Howe and I have developed strong partnerships with the International Burmese Monks Organization (IBMO), the Burmese American Democratic Alliance, and Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Together we have accomplished much. We…
• were lead organizers for a major Buddhist peace walk across Golden Gate Bridge
on April 9;
• organized two public events with IBMO monks outside the UN in New York City;
• advised and supported numerous Burma vigils and protests around the U.S.;
• co-produced a UN briefing with leading monks from the Saffron Revolution;
• created altar cards and bumperstickers, mailed to 200 U.S. Buddhist Centers;
• Maintained a Burma section of BPF’s widely-read web-site;
• Helped draft and edit statements, reports, and talks by IBMO and other Burma activists.
Margaret’s grassroots organizing and advising fit hand in glove with my own writing and networking. With support from our Burmese friends and western donors, we are dedicated to continuing our outreach to Buddhist communities.
Clear View has also been modestly helping exiled monks in the U.S. and Thailand. We raised funds for cyclone relief, children in monastic orphanages, and Burmese educational initiatives fostering critical thinking. But this is not our main function. There are excellent channels for material aid — here I point to the Foundation for the People of Burma, where I’m a board member.
As a new year approaches, we need your help. We’ve run this year on a shoestring, around $20,000. Along with our ongoing outreach, Clear View Project has valuable Burma projects in mind for 2009.
• Planning a national tour of leading Saffron Revolution monks, speaking at local sanghas and centers about the harsh realities of their country, and raising funds to support those who are quietly organizing inside Burma.
• Creating a cultural sensitivity training and team building process for the Foundation for the People of Burma’s staff in Rangoon.
• Designing a poster for distribution inside Burma, so that people understand that Buddhists in the West remember and support them wholeheartedly.
Working for Burma goes with other emerging plans for Clear View: visiting and teaching with Buddhist ex-untouchable communities in India this coming spring, helping insure the long-term viability of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, and other projects described in our brochure.
I am sorry to go on at such length here, but since we are new, this letter is both an introduction and a plea for your support. Our goal for 2009 is to double Clear View’s modest budget, to aim for $40,000. With that amount we can continue working for the safety and benefit of all beings. We welcome your donation of any amount from $10 to $10,000. I know that times are hard, but I promise to use your gift as well and wisely as we can. Thanks so much. And take good care.
Hozan Alan Senauke
[…] Clear View Activities in Burma, and Plea for Support Just after last week’s US election, Alan wrote the following plea for funds to support the Clear View Project’s work in Burma, which includes helping monks to live in safety and continue their practice and work, providing aid to the … […]