Buddhist Leaders Urge Congress to Vote in Support of Iran Agreement

Dear Members of Congress,

As Buddhists, we live by a sacred calling to seek the peace and welfare of our human community. That is why we write to you today in support of the historic agreement to rein in Iran's nuclear program. We write, as Buddhist leaders in communities across the United States, urging Congress to recognize that supporting this agreement will make the world a safer place.

Our Buddhist communities bridge diverse backgrounds, but we hold in common the belief that the path to peace leads not through war, but through courageous and patient diplomacy. We further believe that nuclear non-proliferation and peace necessarily go hand-in–hand.

The July 2015 diplomatic agreement with Iran strengthens global efforts to guard against further nuclear proliferation by closing off all of Iran’s potential pathways to a nuclear weapon. By resolving this issue peacefully, this deal lessens the likelihood of another catastrophic war in the Middle East.

This agreement subjects Iran’s nuclear program to negotiated robust and stringent inpection regime. In exchange, the international community will begin to lift sanctions on Iran. It is our hope that these actions not only build security and benefit people in the surrounding region, but also relieve the suffering ordinary Iranians experience as a result of sanctions. As Buddhists, we believe all people inherently share an ultimate dignity and equality.

On behalf of our communities, we join with our brothers and sisters across the United States and around the world in urging Congress to recognize this historic opportunity for peace. For Congress to vote down this agreement would send a message to all nations rejecting dialogue as a way to resolve the world’s problems.

In gratitude for your consideration,

William Aiken, Soka Gakkai International-USA

Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist Association of the United States

Bishop Myokei Caine-Barrett, Nichiren Order of North America

Grace Burford & Carol Cook, Prescott AZ Insight Meditation Sangha

Joshin Brian Byrnes, Upaya Zen Center

Hosho Peter Coyote, Vimala Sangha

Rev. Sanghwon Hwang, Won Buddhism of America

Mushim Patricia Ikeda, East Bay Meditation Center

Jack Kornfield, Spirit Rock Center

Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate

Acharya Fleet Maull, East Bay Meditation Center

Kittisaro & Jai Mirchandani, The Dharma Foundation of New York

Rev. Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Village Zendo, New York City

Matthew Regan, International Buddhist Committee of Washington DC

Rev. Hozan Alan Senauke, Clear View Project

Gina Sharpe, Insight Meditation Society of New York

Rev. Gregory Kakumei Snyder, Brooklyn Zen Center

Sylvie Sun, Buddhist Global Relief

Kittisaro & Thanissara Weinberg, Insight Meditation Society of Tennessee

Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, newDharma Community/Transformative Change