SAN FRANCISCO — The Buddhist Churches of America, the national organization of Jodo Shinshu temples, issued the following statements on June 20.
BCA Bishop Kodo Umezu: “We all wish to see an immediate end to the cruel separation of children from their parents at the southern border of the United States. We are overwhelmed with feelings of profound sorrow and concern.
“Our founder, Shinran Shonin, was guided by deep self-reflection. Following his example, let us realize that everything that happens in our human society is actually caused by us directly or indirectly. We should recognize the responsibility each of us has in the causes of and solutions to our problems. We sincerely want the suffering caused by inhumane actions to stop and for all of us live harmoniously and peacefully.
“As Buddhists, we should strive to create a world of kindness to all beings by listening to the Compassionate Call from the World of Nirvana, the realm in which there is no separation between self and other; the True and Real Home for all.”
BCA President Richard A. Stambul: “Americans have always taken great pride in considering our country a humanitarian nation. Laura Bush, former first lady of the United States, commenting on the state of affairs at our nation’s borders, reminds all of us that ‘these images are eerily reminiscent of the internment camps for U.S. citizens and non-citizens of Japanese descent during World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.’
“This is a humanitarian crisis that cannot be watched in silence. It is unacceptable to witness the utter lack of compassion, and the inhumanity of separating children from their parents. Horrific events occur when people lose their sense of humanity.
“The Buddhist Churches of America is the oldest and largest Buddhist organization in the West. When people seeking refuge in the United States are automatically criminalized and their innocent children are traumatized, there is a humanitarian imperative to speak out as Shin Buddhists, and as human beings.”