The Community of Living Traditions at Stony Point Center has announced that its second annual Living Traditions Award will be presented to Jun Yasuda, a nun in the Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji order residing at the Grafton Peace Pagoda in Grafton, New York. Jun-san, as she is affectionately known by her community, has been a steadfast presence in the movements for peace, against nuclear weapons, and in solidarity with indigenous peoples movements in North America and internationally.
(Image at right, Buddhist nun Jun-san Yasuda, Photo from Bruce Gagnon, used with permission)
The Living Traditions Award was established in 2014 to honor an individual whose work exemplifies the values of the Community of Living Traditions: justice, peace, nonviolence, earth-consciousness and radical hospitality.
Yasuda’s public ministry began in 1978, when she accompanied Native American organizers on “The Longest Walk” from San Francisco, California to Washington, DC. Since then, she has crossed the country four more times on foot and logged several thousand additional miles for the cause of peace. She walks beating her drum while chanting the meditative prayer of the Nichiren Buddhist orders: Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Walkers are hosted in a different community each night and offer education on the risks of nuclear power and atomic weapons in return for the hospitality of lodging and a community pot-luck. In recent years Japanese participants affected by the Fukushima meltdown have been among those walking. Members of various Native American nations have also participated, in recognition that nuclear power plants are frequently on or near Indian land and that North American Indians have often been drawn into -- and suffered through -- the mining of uranium on their lands.
“Jun-san’s gentle but persistent spirit has changed the shape of the peace movement in the US,” said Mark Johnson, a member of the Community of Living Traditions and director of the Center for the Bible and Social Justice, located on Stony Point Center’s campus. “Her walks, and the Peace Pagoda communities, are testimonies to the strength that comes from meditation and courage grounded in a disciplined community of practice.”
The Community of Living Traditions will present the award to Yasuda on October 11, 2015, at the second annual Farm-to-Table Gala, a harvest festival and fundraiser to support the continued development of Stony Point Center as an incubator for food justice and multifaith community organizing. As a recipient of the Living Traditions Award, Yasuda will receive $1000 to encourage and support her leadership and/or any initiative of her choosing. She will also receive a gift certificate for use of Stony Point Center for a personal retreat or meeting space.
Stony Point Center is a national conference center of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Rockland County that offers affordable accommodations and a welcoming environment for activists and visionaries of all stripes to convene, discern, learn and plan. The campus is also home to an intentional multifaith community called the Community of Living Traditions which strives to put into practice the legacy of hospitality and strategic nonviolence that exists within many faith traditions.