Help Buddhist Organisations Use Their Money Mindfully

Buddhist Centres, Businesses & Associations

Seated Buddha Statue
By Lahiru Supunchandra @Unsplash

The Mindful Money campaign invites us to extend our compassion and wisdom to our use of money. Our money can be a force for good or a force for harm.

By signing this letter, we signal this concern to our Dharma centres and invite them to switch, if appropriate, to a bank that avoids suffering and promotes the well-being of our planet and all beings.

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To: Buddhist Centres, Businesses & Associations
From: [Your Name]

We write as Buddhists and sangha members to invite your Dharma centre to join the campaign to extend Buddhist principles of compassion and non-harming into your choice of bank.

Many high street banks are major financiers of the coal, oil and gas projects which are directly responsible for the climate crisis. In 2022 alone, the five big UK high street banks (Barclays, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds, and NatWest) provided $37 billion of financial support to fossil fuel companies [1]. These banks are also lending to companies involved in a range of other unethical and destructive activities such as nuclear weapons, single-use plastics, old-growth forest clearance and associated human rights abuses, and poor workers’ rights [2].

In banking with these banks, faith institutions provide them with financial power and the ‘social licence’ to continue their unethical activities even in the face of opposition from shareholders and activist groups. On the other hand, through explicitly cutting ties with these banks, institutions such as yours can exert a powerful influence. There are many alternative banks to choose from whose lending and investment policies exclude harmful practices and often actively benefit communities and the planet; for example, Charity Bank, Co-op Bank and Nationwide.

We are sure that you are aware of the critical urgency of the climate and ecological crisis. The last 10 months have been the hottest on record and scientists believe that the next few months will be crucial in determining if the planet has entered a new accelerated phase of heating [3].

In 2015, an open letter entitled ‘The Time to Act is Now A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change’, [4] signed by 65 notables from across the spectrum of Buddhist traditions, stated that:

‘There has never been a more important time in history to bring the resources of Buddhism to bear on behalf of all living beings ... We have a brief window of opportunity to take action, to preserve humanity from imminent disaster and to assist the survival of the many diverse and beautiful forms of life on Earth. Future generations, and the other species that share the biosphere with us, have no voice to ask for our compassion, wisdom, and leadership. We must listen to their silence. We must be their voice, too, and act on their behalf.’

For the Mindful Money campaign, Extinction Rebellion Buddhists are working with Tipping Point’s ‘Bank Better’ to offer support, discussion and information to organisations such as yours on the process of moving money from unethical banks to banks which are more aligned with Buddhist values.

We ask that your organisation investigates the ethical standing of your bank(s) and, if necessary, moves to a more ethical one where available.

With deep respect,

[1] Make My Money Matter:

[2] Good With Money:

[3] ABC News:

[4] Yale University: