On Monday, October 22, 2012 the Yale Chaplain’s Office began to spread word that the University has ended its relationship with Indigo Blue, the center for Buddhist life at Yale, and with Bruce Blair ’81, Yale’s Buddhist Chaplain. At the moment, there is no Buddhist chaplain and all Buddhist spaces on campus, including the Harkness Tower Shrine, have been closed off to students. There has been no formal announcement of this decision. The University has not published its reasons for this decision, citing confidentiality, but the Chaplain’s Office has stated that the closure of Indigo Blue has been internally discussed for some time, and that the Office is looking to support a new phase of Buddhist life at Yale.
We are deeply concerned with the nature of this decision — the elimination of current Buddhist spaces on campus and the failure to involve or inform students in the process. We are worried about how this will affect the welfare and happiness of students who are in many ways connected to and influenced by Indigo Blue. Indigo Blue has offered solace to many students coping with problems and tragedies, struggling to find a niche at Yale, or simply in need of a place to go to feel safe and welcome. Although a Buddhist fellowship in name, Indigo Blue includes students of all denominations and backgrounds and provides a safe platform for students to approach Buddhism in ways they feel comfortable to “come and going without hindrance.”
Students currently have no access to sacred spaces for meditation, prayer, honoring ancestors, and other Buddhist practices. We press the university administration and the Chaplain’s Office to respect our experience with Indigo Blue, to recognize our need to continue traditional practices of observance, and to cooperate with us to rebuild a safe and welcoming Buddhist community at Yale in a timely manner. To help us or to get involved, visit this page.