Stand with Standing Rock


A Buddhist Statement of Support for the
Standing Rock action and Water is Life Protectors

October 2016

In order to preserve life and sacred land and water on Mother Earth, we practitioners, students, and teachers of the Buddhist tradition stand with the peaceful people of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and with hundreds of other indigenous nations and allies in protest of construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We call on the Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. government agencies to adhere to regulations protecting the Standing Rock Sioux people, sacred land, and clean water, and to practice truthful and loving speech and action that heals past grievances as well as earning trust. Arrest and prosecution of peaceful protesters must end immediately. Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and any efforts toward running a pipeline beneath the Missouri River must be halted until proper environmental assessments are made and risks to the Standing Rock Sioux and other affected groups are prevented.

David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe shares:
We are a resilient people who have survived unspeakable hardships in the past, so we know what is at stake now. As our songs and prayers echo across the prairie, we need the public to see that in standing up for our rights, we do so on behalf of the millions of Americans who will be affected by this pipeline.

The first precept the Buddha taught is to preserve life. We come together to offer the above Buddhist statement of support for the Standing Rock actions with a clear focus on preserving life for all. In this spirit, we insist in a halt to the defilement of our shared land, water and atmosphere – the exploitation of Mother Earth herself – in which fossil fuel and other corporations continue to engage for their own financial enrichment. Indeed, we stand with Indigenous elders in voicing the need to protect the leaders and defenders of these corporations from themselves. As all of life is interdependent, they and their children will find no safety from their actions and furthermore will bear the karmic burden of causing incalculable harm.

Zen master, Thích Nhất Hạnh calls us to action:
We have to start learning how to live in a way so that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren. We need a kind of collective awakening. We have the dharma; we have the means; we have enough wisdom. We do not have to sink into despair … we can act.

The Dalai Lama counsels:
Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed, and lack of respect for the earth’s living things. This lack of respect extends even to the earth’s human descendants, the future generations who will inherit a vastly degraded planet if world peace doesn’t become a reality and if destruction of the natural environment continues at the present rate.

The Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi proposes:
To avoid civilizational collapse, we not only need new technologies… but even more fundamentally, a new paradigm… This change in worldview must lead to reverence and respect for the natural world, recognized as our irreplaceable home and nurturing mother. It must acknowledge the finitude of nature, and treat it accordingly, bearing in mind our responsibility to future generations.

Yet even in the light of these truths, design and construction of the pipeline has not protected the sacred water and ancestral burial grounds of the Sioux people. As a result, the path of the pipeline creates a risk of catastrophic pollution of the Missouri River, an important source of drinking water for millions and a sacred river to the Sioux people. The DAP project was fast-tracked using the “Nationwide Permit No. 12” process which allowed Texas oil company Energy Transfer Partners to circumvent environmental reviews required under the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. This process treats the pipeline as a series of small construction sites rather than the large multi-state project it is. As a result, the risks to the Missouri River, the Sioux people, and others were never properly assessed.

Federal law requires the United States Army Corps of Engineers to oversee construction of multi-state pipelines and consult with tribes about their sovereign interests. However, permits were granted and construction begun without meaningful consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux. Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior have raised alarms about the process.

For more than five centuries, the Doctrine of Discovery and the laws based upon it have legalized the theft of land, labor and resources from Indigenous Peoples around the world and denied their human rights. The difficult truth is that such and exploitation continues in the present moment. Mining, fracking, logging, water theft, plantation agriculture, and other extractive industries are taking resources from Indigenous communities to benefit the wealth of those with European descent.

motherearthOnce again, consistent with a long and painful history of colonial domination, we see the legal rights of an indigenous community ignored by U.S. government agencies. By refusing to enforce its own regulations, the US government is actively supporting a private corporation, DAPL/Dakota Access Pipeline in desecration and exploitation. We see this conflict in the context of struggles around the world in which extractive economies, with state protection, face off against indigenous defenders of land and water.

Rebecca Adamson of the Eastern Cherokee Deer Clan observes:
Whether we like it or not the simple truth is that Indians have to become leaders beyond their own communities… What we see in today’s Western societies is fear-based — a scarcity of resources and individuals with insatiable appetites. When you look at an indigenous economy that’s survived for tens of thousands of years you see [an assumption] of prosperity and a kinship-based sense of enoughness.

We are inspired by the model of healing, collaboration and solidarity with which the native tribes are joining together at this time in defense of indigenous rights and the well-being of Mother Earth. It is with this spirit that a Buddhist community can join with people of all faiths and no faith in protecting the rights and dignity of indigenous peoples, in reverence for basic goodness, in honoring the sacred and in defending all life, near and far, seen and unseen, born and yet to be born. These principles lay at the center of true wisdom. Svaha!

May unskillful actions harming Earth and all life cease now.

May transformation occur in the hearts and minds of corporate and government leaders in order to prevent further suffering, alienation, and destruction of life.

May all those who honor the sacred Earth come together to support the Sacred Rock Sioux Reservation and all those who stand for her protection.

May the violence and theft that harms all indigenous people forever cease.

Finally, may we follow our statement of support with meaningful action! Specifically, we call on those supporting this statement to follow through on the steps below.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse implores US President Obama to Keep His Word:

Chief Arvol Looking Horse talks about the buffalo in the Lakota language before a Spirit Releasing ceremony for the animal Tuesday, April 15, 2008, in Yellowstone National Park, Mont. Looking Horse is calling for state and federal officials to scrap a program that kills or removes bison from the park as part of a livestock protection program. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self-destruction. These self-destructive activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life.

How to Stand with Standing Rock: Solidarity Actions

  1. Endorse this statement (see below).
  2. Endorse the Open Interfaith Letter on Standing Rock
  3. Following the guidelines of respectful and wise speech, share your voice with North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200
  4. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL
  5. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama (still empowered to act!) of our support for the demands of the Standing Rock Souix in protection of clean water, sacred lands and the health of the Earth on which we all depend.
  6. Find or organize local #NoDAPL solidarity opportunities.
  7. NEW! Join the fundraising campaign to support a Mindfulness/Buddhist contingent to be present at Standing Rock
  8. NEW! Pledge to Pray with Standing Rock. Read more and join the global pledge.
  9. Travel to Bismark in person to join the Camp of the Sacred Stones.
  10. Get the latest on how you can support the Water Protectors at the Camp of the Sacred Stones website. Here are some current actions listed there:
  11. Track events and further calls for support on social media

This collaborative statement and references – inspired by statements of support from various faith traditions – was written and compiled by representatives Rev. Jayna Gieber of the Earth Holder Sangha in the Plum Village Tradition of Thích Nhất Hạnh, Kristin Barker, director of One Earth Sangha with input from consultants, Buddhist teacher Thanissara, Katie Loncke, and Dawn Haney, co-directors of Buddhist Peace Fellowship, indigenous leader Steve Llanes and Dharma teacher and director of the University of Washington’s Center for Indigenous Health Research, Bonnie Duran.


Signature Count vs. Goal: 1778 / 1500

54 Comments on “Stand with Standing Rock

  1. People of Standing Rock and brave supporters, know that many of us from across the world stand with you and feel inspired by your courage . From London, UK, I pledge to continue to contribute to our own protests in the UK against the destruction of our beautiful and generous Earth, and thread on her as lightly and respectfully as possible.

    • My heart is with all of you who are standing firm for what is right and true.

      A quote from Gandhi:

      Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.

      • that was a beautiful prayer. you hold all of our hearts and our hopes in your strong courageous hands and we walk with you in prayer always.

    • We are standing with you???
      May this be the beginning of the healing of our society and of our Earth Mother.

    • Feeling the resonance with the tribes and the earth and water so deeply, being moved by the strength so many are showing – may the strength and perseverance continue, may you be truly successful, may we all cherish this planet and all upon it, and may countless generations after us get to drink fresh water and breathe clean air and sit on this sacred earth together with one heart…

  2. With deep regard, I add my Aho to this statement and bow to all who are standing for and with Standing Rock and Mother Earth! May all beings and Pachamama be safe.
    Rev. Jayna Gieber
    Director, People of the Heart
    Washington State, USA

  3. In solidarity with the Water Protectors. May you be held in light and love. For the love of the earth and all of her beings, I honor and support you all ?

  4. Dear Water Protectors. Sending deep respect and gratitude. Hope to join you.
    With love for Gaia the precious jewel of the cosmos,

  5. For our Mother, for the water we come from, for the water we are made of, for all of the Earths creatures, for the heartsick on the front lines and the heartsick that can only help from afar. This criminal abuse cannot prevail. The Water Protectors and her allies are doing what has GOT to be done. My people and people all over the world are rallying behind you. Thank you.

    • We must change the way we live. I agree we need to follow a new paradigm that allows us to move toward compatibility, compassion, empathy and connection. We need to leave war, hate, greed and corruption behind. We must look for biocentrism not anthropocentrism. We need to work to give women equal rights globally. Women will lead the way to the new paradigm.

      We need to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into our daily lives and raise our level of awareness and consciousness.

  6. I honor, respect and support our rights to clean water. I stand with you with love, honor and dignity. Thank your for your strength and perseverance. I pray for your safety.

  7. Many thanks to OneEarthSangha for publishing this statement. I had the privilege of attending a retreat to bear witness to the Native American genocide in the Black Hills of S. Dakota led by the Zen Peacemakers and Lakota Sioux in 2015. Only a few short months later this important struggle began at Standing Rock to protect sacred land and water and indeed the planet itself.
    I look forward to being present there again to learn first hand another way of being. Meanwhile my intention is to do what I can from where I am in the City, distant from the site of the DAPL and the front lines fighting against it, but nevertheless close to the big banks who are invested in the pipeline and to government offices of people who can stop it.
    Please keep me informed of any plans to gather as Buddhists at Standing Rock in 2017.

  8. I am so glad to see this offering here. I am grateful for all the suggestions of how we all can participate in a variety of ways. I have been dreaming of seeing something like this to help me know which action(s) I can take to actually stand in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock. In addition to signing the petition, sharing this post on my FB page, making donations to the places listed, and phoning the White House and North Dakota’s governor, I will contemplate how else I can join in this effort. Thank you for this guidance. Bowing to all of you and all of us working to keep our hearts open while we work on behalf of saner and more compassionate policies. Deep bows to all those risking their lives at Standing Rock.

  9. #Standingwithstandingrock sending peaceful,and loving energy to all on the ground inNorth Dakota. May this peaceful and pray full protest create change. Honoring the water protectors who are doing this job for the world.

  10. I take refuge in the Bodhisattva Mother Earth. I stand with Standing Rock.

  11. Life was not given to us to devour, but to protect.
    We honor what we believe in by caring for the gift of life, of living creatures, of earth, air, wind, and fire.

  12. Standing Rock clearly shows the divisions of Corporate power vs. The People. We must stand firm and gather our voices, so this kind of take over of public interest will not happen on our beautiful Mother Earth, which most importantly is Water.

  13. We are grateful and deeply honoured by the bravery of the North American and First Nations people. Each day we give support by posting, praying, meditation, and sending protective Reiki Energy….if we cannot be there in person…we will send Sacred prayer and energy….thank you all <3 …Namaste

  14. We stand in solidarity. May the voices of compassion be heard. May the Earth, as well as the humans who drink her water, breathe her air and eat her food be protected. Aho. OM Shanti. Lokah Samasthah Sukhino Bhavantu. May all beings be peaceful and free from suffering.

  15. I echo the thanks of others to OneEarthSangha for expressing this solidarity that seems so simple but means so much to all living things. My will to join the protectors is great, though my resources are not, and I will continue to contribute time, energy and peace-preserving ideas until I can find the means to be physically and peacefully present at Standing Rock. Your statements, prayers and good wishes will inspire many!

  16. Aho.
    Acknowledging my gratitude and appreciation for all “Protectors” of planet, people and peace.
    May you and your families be protected. May you walk always with a peaceful heart.

  17. I STAND WITH STANDING ROCK. “I AM a Sovereign Nation, my body is the temple of living Divinity, where I stand is sacred land. I have the RIGHT TO LIFE. I have the RIGHT TO LIBERTY in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms, to PURSUE HAPPINESS. When I sing and dance, praise twice the holy word.”

  18. Strength and courage to all of you. You’re not alone. Our hearts are with you.

  19. Sending love and energy to the brave protectors of the water. Much gratitude for the courageous work you are doing that reminds us of what it means to be human beings. Be well and safe and warm xxxx

  20. I will be coming to humbly stand with you water protectors with a clergy delegation in a few days. Thank you for your efforts to protect our most precious resource. May you be safe. May you be well as the cold sets in. May you be free.

    • Kathlene,

      This is wonderful news. Please feel encouraged to share with us (gro.a1614997034hgnas1614997034htrae16149970341@tce1614997034nnoc1614997034) pictures of the faith community solidarity events on Thursday.

      Deep bow,

  21. In standing with Standing Rock may we transform the greed and aversion–and the long silence–that has overheated the earth and harmed so many of its beings.

  22. I stand with you and give gratitude for the sacred work you are conducting.
    Thank you

  23. I stand with the water protectors at Standing Rock. The Earth is our Mother and we all are Her Children. May we all come together and create a world beyond profits for some and move towards a world where we work together for the good of all.

  24. So many days have passed since the beginning of the Earth Protectors journey to protect our waters. Water is Life is my motto. My heart bleeds as I watch what has taken place at Standing Rocks. I know your Heart bleeds also. The most I can do and have done is forward everything on FB and my sites so All people know what is going on here. I lit a candle and have prayed every day since your journey started. My eyes fill up and sadness over takes me, and I get angry as I watch your ancestors ground bringing turn over. I wish I could make this go away but I can’t. This path, road must be completed so you can stand in honor and say you did your best. AHO

  25. If this defilement of our land is allowed to continue then Mother Earth will have no choice but to reject the human species that is poisoning the very things we need to survive (clean air, clean water) We will die out and become extinct as we choke ourselves to death, but Mother Earth will survive and begin again making the planet whole without this cancerous scourge. Why are we so blind, why are we so arrogant to think we can ravage Mother Nature with no consequences?

  26. This attitude of taking over another group of people merely because you can has to stop. Regardless of how anyone feels this is legally wrong and we only have one earth. We must take take of her or she will correct herself. We all should be putting all our effortss to making more earth conscience decisions. Oney will not save us. We cannot eat it and when you’re dead it sure doesn’t mean a whole bunch- not even to your family. It’s an utter shame, a disgusting shame that the United States is STILL taking advantage of Native Americans. And with Thanksgiving coming up we’re supposed to teach our children to……….what? How to stab people in the back that help us?

  27. Sadly, this is an act of war by a nation that has lost its conscience. Thank you for your peaceful response. I am with you in spirit and solidarity. Namaste.

  28. I stand with all stewards of this beautiful nourishing earth. Humanity must find harmony with nature and each other if we are to survive.

  29. borrowed some song lyrics, but true is true

    The time has come to say fair’s fair
    To pay the rent \
    Now to pay our share
    The time has come
    A facts the fact
    It belongs to them
    We’re gonna give it back

    • I stand with Standing Rock, I pray for everyone on the front lines and behind. I pray for the aggressors that their hearts will open and they will see the truth. The carnage against our mother earth is unconscionable and I am in awe, appreciation and support of those who stand up and fight leading the way for the rest of us.
      Thank you

  30. I pray for all of you strong proud courageous Natives. We all must stand up for what is right, and right is healing the Mother Earth who has been desecrated for the greedy few. Thank you, and may God bless you and protect your lands.

  31. “Mans covenant with the natural world is sacrosanct and takes precedence over all human interaction”
    -Chief Seattle

  32. The Presence of Divine Love is doing Its’ perfect work in resolving this situation to the Highest Good of All. Nothing and no one can withhold the Highest Good. We forgive and release any negative thought or emotion about anyone or anything from our past and present, including ourselves, and all are benefitted. So it is!

  33. I stand with Standing Rock and support the One Earth Sangha. Thank you for bringing people together in this community

    I will take the actions listed here, to the extent that I can do so.

    And, dear Sangha, forgive me, but I can’t take the Dalai Lama seriously while he continues to eat non-human animals and other products of their suffering, and by his example, he encourages others to do so. Suffering for the planet (ie, climate change), the animals, and human health.

    That is not to say that this Call to Action is not entirely wonderful.

  34. Is this the government we’re supposed to be proud of? The national news is ignoring this and it’s blatantly obvious why. This is the country that we pledge allegiance to? These are the freedoms that we fight for? Are these the freedoms that I served in the military for? To protect? So that we could continue to walk and trudge over these people all over again and again? No mention of this even in an election year. While our government pretends to defend the freedoms abroad in Afghanistan, Syria, etc we do this to the people within our own borders. I know, I know, perhaps since I’m not there, I don’t have the entire story, the same story is going on right here in the Big Bend area. It’s happened before all over the country, It’s called Eminent Domain. It’s also called Money and purchased politicians. It’s called Corporate Greed. As long as we all feel safe to drive to the supermarket to get our groceries and go to work so we can pay our rent or mortgage and be good little boys and girls,they will continue to do what they will. As long as those politicians get paid, then they will never do what they are supposed to do, and that’s the will of the people. Just sayin’. I’m just as powerless as anyone else. The only power I have is the power of the pen. Unfortunately. It’s sad. It’s distasteful.
    What I say will probably only go beyond the few friends that see this. I’m preaching to the choir as they say. Our freedoms are slowly being eroded away. It has been said that our constitution will hang by a thread. I can see it happening. When I was a kid, I scoffed at the idea but since those days, I have seen how laws can begin to strangle instead of save.
    You just have to watch the Native Americans and remember your history or perhaps to remember their history. Remember the countless treaties that were made and then broken. Time and time and time again until there was nothing left of their land. Now, it’s happening again. And what are we doing? Nothing. We’re comfortable. Me too. I’ve got a job. I go to work. I buy my groceries. I fix my truck. I pay my bills. I listen to the news. Those poor, poor, people. Then I go to sleep. I get up. It’s another day. Good Luck world. We’re gonna need it.

  35. You would think that a “Buddhist Statement of Support” could at least spell the Dalai Lama’s name correctly. It’s NOT Dalia Lama.

    • Technology is a blessing but autocorrect can sometimes be less so. Thanks for catching that typo and letting us know. Rev. Jayna Gieber

  36. I hear he’s Dalia to his closest friends 😉 Thanks so much for launching this shout-out, it’s wonderful to feel connected with the wider sangha and to be throwing so much love to Standing Rock. Solidarity and love x

  37. Bristol DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement) held a public screening of the Naomi Klein film ‘This Changes Everything’, followed by reflection and discussion. We took donations on the night for the Standing Rock camp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.