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Thread: Our First Global Service Days (September 15-29, 2012)!

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Our First Global Service Days (September 15-29, 2012)!

    Greetings all!

    Our first Treeleaf Global Service Day period starts tomorrow September 15! A lot of work, thought, discussion, and reflection have gone into preparation for our Engaged practice together.... I'm hoping that from a small seed a tall, strong oak will grow. Many Treeleafers have given their time, their inspiration, and their honest thoughts towards building this community event.

    We are hoping that you will find a day during this two-week period to participate in a service activity that leaves the world a better place than you found it... and that soon this practice will become a regular part of your life. There are many ways to serve, and many fine ideas have been shared on our Engaged Projects Forum. Leaving the world a better place can take many forms - relieving the loneliness and suffering of others, whether due to illness, hunger, incarceration..... contributing to the opening of young people's minds by reading, mentoring, spending time being a presence in someone's life; easing the suffering of sentient beings by caring for and showing love to companion animals who have been abandoned or abused; exploring our connectedness in the world by caring for the environment. Furthermore, it is possible to perform these activities as a family, with our partners, our children, as a way of introducing our practice by doing and engaging..... not talking or lecturing.

    I am really excited about this, and by all the support and enthusiasm shown by Treeleafers - imagine the momentum and impact of our practice when we go out into the world together.... this is where our practice manifests itself...

    There are several ways in which you can share your experiences and reflections upon your Global Day of Service - feel free to share in this thread - if you wish to share anonymously, Kyonin and I will be posting Global Service experiences on a blog (soon to be launched). As moderators of the blog, Kyonin and I will submit these posts anonymously. We encourage you to share your experiences, in either this thread or by contacting Kyonin or myself, as it will motivate all of us..... I know there are folks whose practice is personal and private, and that is to be respected. We do encourage sharing if at all possible!

    We fully expect that over multiple Global Service Days, and over time that folks will try various activities as they settle into an Engaged Practice. As our practice grows, so will our place in the world, and our understanding of the contribution we can make towards leaving things better than we found them. Lots of emotions, thoughts, and reflections will arise. I'm hoping we discover personal challenge, a feeling of fulfillment, as well as a feeling of discomfort as we challenge ourselves to witness suffering. If we are not challenging ourselves, we do not feel that feeling of "unsettlement." As a priest I know once said, the purpose of Engaged Practice is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Let's challenge ourselves.....

    My gratitude to all my brothers and sisters at Treeleaf who have supported this project, bringing us to the eve of our kickoff!

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 09-14-2012 at 11:38 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Thank you Yugen. You have put so much effort into leading the charge on this important effort.

    Let's all get out there and 'do' all we can.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Thank you Yugen and all that are/will participate! You are an inspiration.


    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  4. #4
    Thank you Yugen ... this is an exciting time!

    Gassho
    Michael

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  5. #5
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    150920121075.jpg

    This was taken today (september 15 here already). This is the reading program I mentioned in the Ideas for Projects thread. I'm the shaved head in black at the back. Besides reading stories to the kids we also gave them some snacks and juices. My other idea of teaching yoga will have to wait while I finish some stuff.

  6. #6
    The Treeleaf challenge to find new ways of engaging did get this butt in gear. One thing became clear right away. Volunteer organizations really appreciate people stepping forward who have a skill-set they need.

    The city of Toronto where I live is an urban sprawl that, including all suburbs, has a population of around five million people. Many of these people are “new Canadians”, recent arrivals from all over the world who may be living with poverty, cultural isolation, and youth alienation. Under the auspices of an organization called Art Starts, artists engage neighbourhoods at risk in community building (and bridging) projects, ...and they may also create programs. I have come up with an idea for a program that addresses a common situation.... young people arriving in this city can plunge straight into urban culture, and remain very limited in their experience of a vast new land . All that is really known is the urban environment, and the stresses and perspectives that come with it. The idea is to create an art program where city kids (and adults too) can experience powerful natural environments that put ephemeral urban culture into perspective, and would otherwise seem inaccessible to them, while learning and practicing creative skills and free-play. When people of different backgrounds share the experience of both art making, and natural space , new ways of seeing and relating can come out.

    I will propose organizing regular trips at a meeting with the agency set for early October. ..and will post the outcome here. The outcome of course is uncertain, and even with a go-ahead it would have to be begin modestly. But it is worth a try, and could be wonderful.


    Gassho, Kojip
    大山

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    150920121075.jpg

    This was taken today (september 15 here already). This is the reading program I mentioned in the Ideas for Projects thread. I'm the shaved head in black at the back. Besides reading stories to the kids we also gave them some snacks and juices. My other idea of teaching yoga will have to wait while I finish some stuff.
    Wonderful action. Wonderful picture. Thank you for sharing.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    150920121075.jpg

    This was taken today (september 15 here already). This is the reading program I mentioned in the Ideas for Projects thread. I'm the shaved head in black at the back. Besides reading stories to the kids we also gave them some snacks and juices. My other idea of teaching yoga will have to wait while I finish some stuff.




    Willow

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Indeed, lets work to make this planet a better place.

    Please help us with some stories about your efforts and if it's not much to ask, some photos and videos will help a lot.

    Thank you all for your practice and for creating a better reality.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    The outcome of course is uncertain, and even with a go-ahead it would have to be begin modestly. But it is worth a try, and could be wonderful.
    Sounds like a wonderful project, Kojip. A lot of people I know have migrated to other countries and a little help adapting to the new culture is always a good point to start a new life.

    Thank you for this.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    150920121075.jpg

    This was taken today (september 15 here already). This is the reading program I mentioned in the Ideas for Projects thread. I'm the shaved head in black at the back. Besides reading stories to the kids we also gave them some snacks and juices. My other idea of teaching yoga will have to wait while I finish some stuff.
    Nothing more precious than looking at kids smiling.

    And you sir, look a very happy man. Keep that smile shining over the lives of all kids near you.

    Thank you.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    150920121075.jpg

    This was taken today (september 15 here already). This is the reading program I mentioned in the Ideas for Projects thread. I'm the shaved head in black at the back. Besides reading stories to the kids we also gave them some snacks and juices. My other idea of teaching yoga will have to wait while I finish some stuff.
    One word: Awesomesauce!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Sounds like a wonderful project, Kojip. A lot of people I know have migrated to other countries and a little help adapting to the new culture is always a good point to start a new life.

    Thank you for this.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Thanks Kyonin. I realize it is working toward action and not action, but the director of the agency sounded like they definitely need help. If getting some modest funding for this program doesn't pan out, there are other ways to pitch in. Some immigrating communities have strong bonds and mutual support, but others are not like that. Especially when they are coming from places with civil disorder and extreme poverty. Street culture here offers nothing to alienated kids. This agency also focuses on woman, who arrive very vulnerable.



    Anyway, it's a bit funny posting about it here .. but will post when there are results from the proposal.

    Gassho.
    大山

  14. #14
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Thank you Kyonin. I will.


    Rafael

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Nothing more precious than looking at kids smiling.

    And you sir, look a very happy man. Keep that smile shining over the lives of all kids near you.

    Thank you.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin

  15. #15
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Sounds like a wonderful idea.


    Rafael
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    The Treeleaf challenge to find new ways of engaging did get this butt in gear. One thing became clear right away. Volunteer organizations really appreciate people stepping forward who have a skill-set they need.

    The city of Toronto where I live is an urban sprawl that, including all suburbs, has a population of around five million people. Many of these people are “new Canadians”, recent arrivals from all over the world who may be living with poverty, cultural isolation, and youth alienation. Under the auspices of an organization called Art Starts, artists engage neighbourhoods at risk in community building (and bridging) projects, ...and they may also create programs. I have come up with an idea for a program that addresses a common situation.... young people arriving in this city can plunge straight into urban culture, and remain very limited in their experience of a vast new land . All that is really known is the urban environment, and the stresses and perspectives that come with it. The idea is to create an art program where city kids (and adults too) can experience powerful natural environments that put ephemeral urban culture into perspective, and would otherwise seem inaccessible to them, while learning and practicing creative skills and free-play. When people of different backgrounds share the experience of both art making, and natural space , new ways of seeing and relating can come out.

    I will propose organizing regular trips at a meeting with the agency set for early October. ..and will post the outcome here. The outcome of course is uncertain, and even with a go-ahead it would have to be begin modestly. But it is worth a try, and could be wonderful.


    Gassho, Kojip

  16. #16
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Had a great day at the Terry Fox Run for cancer research today. I entered a work team, and together we raised $830!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by zen_rook View Post
    Had a great day at the Terry Fox Run for cancer research today. I entered a work team, and together we raised $830!
    Fantastic ... nice work!

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  18. #18
    Is anyone aware of any software development related service activities that they would recommend?


    Gassho,

    Richard

  19. #19
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    My family and I helped to clean up one or our local parks today as our beginning phase of the the global service initiative. Not something I would usually post about as service is above self but it was interesting that an unknown person who was in the park while we were picking up trash started doing the same. No words were spoken but smiles were exchanged. Kind of an amazing moment. A curious meeting with karma. I'm glad my kids were involved in this.

    Gassho,

    Daido and family

    Global Service.jpg
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  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I wanted to report in to you on my Global Day of Service endeavors - as I think about this practice I have the following (goal-less) goals:

    1) Have the practice become a part of my daily life, like zazen - not something I do as a discrete activity but something that becomes part of who I am - putting service to others and the world around me before self -
    2) engage in service to others as a fellow human being - practice compassion, empathy, and listening
    3) engage in service to the environment around me - leave things better than I found them....

    I would like to explore the meaning of the word for nature in its Japanese context - shizen (self-thus) - as compared to the notion of "self" that I have lived.... putting myself above others and pursuing my own desires..... in shizen I would like to explore the connectedness of all sentient beings.... in a way it is a huge relief to glimpse the fact that I am no better or different than a tree, or fish, or cloud - transient and living out its existence in this moment..... as a matter of fact if I can get out of my own way there is much I can learn......

    Today I spent the afternoon with my friend Tony - he is a Mainer and fisherman who "threw" lobster pots for fifteen years and then was afflicted by Lou Gehrig's disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He is confined to a motorized wheelchair and is progressively losing nervous and muscular control of voluntary actions... swallowing, moving his hands and fingers, etc. He is a strapping and physical man who lived an outdoors life as a fisherman. Being confined to a wheelchair is difficult for him - and he misses the ocean. He has outlived his prognosis by years and is at the stage of things where his fierce desire for independence conflict with the reality that he depends on his wife and others for feeding, dressing, transportation, and all basic activities. We sent the afternoon talking and have agreed to meet every week. Tony has a lot of reflections, regrets, and very mixed emotions about his current situation. He has broken every mold I ever had about Maine fishermen.... the sensitivity, perception, and empathy he has demonstrated for others less fortunate than himself is remarkable. And he does express considerable frustration at the extent to which he took things for granted before his life changed, and the things he did not do because he figured he would always have the time.....

    I was moved to tears in listening to him.... and I realized that he is a teacher to me..... and that in his change of form he has become radiant and wise in his vulnerability and defiance.... I know he does not feel that way right now.... but in a way we need one another... He has spoken to me of missing the sea.... he has not gone to the water for years because he is afraid of the emotions he will encounter if he is at water's edge. I asked him if we could go down to Tenant's Harbor or Five Islands next week.... and he agreed. I joke about his craziness in going to sea in a lobster boat during the winter and he thinks I'm crazy because I paddle a cockleshell kayak year-round (and roll it intentionally to boot).... he has shared some trepidation about what emotions will surface when he is down by the water..... but he is trusting me enough that he will allow me to share this with him next week.

    This was a moving and profound afternoon. I was in tears during the drive home - I felt as if I was stealing every breath I took on this brilliant early autumn afternoon - one day Tony's diaphragm will not function and he will be unable to breathe without mechanical assistance. Every minute, every breath is the whole world and the whole of existence. And how many of these have I wasted with anger, with greed, with resentment?

    Thank you all for this exercise and practice; for this place, and opportunity to become a human being.

    More to follow, and hopefully next week, photos of our trip to water's edge.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 09-18-2012 at 12:28 AM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Thank you for this, Yugen.

    Deep gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  22. #22
    Yugen, thank you for sharing this touching story.
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  23. #23
    Yes Yugen very nice, thank you.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Thank you, Yugen. Do not squander your life ... we need to be reminded over and over ...
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi all!

    Please remember to submit to Yugen or myself your anonymous stories for the event blog.

    Thanks!

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  26. #26
    Hello,

    I've been trying to contact my local chapter of ACLU for an ongoing volunteer opportunity, but have thus far been unable. I will try to find something else for the Day of Service before the end of the window.

    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  27. #27
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Saijun,
    That's a great idea! About the time frame, the idea is for folks to begin a periodic activity that over time becomes part of one's ongoing practice... If this September 15-29 period has helped to form some engaged practice ideas for you and they germinate afterward / in the next global service period that's great! Please share with us what you discover!

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 09-18-2012 at 10:16 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  28. #28
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    September 29th is National Public Lands Day here. My sons and I will be going to a local park and helping with trail maintenance, painting etc.

    If people are still looking for ideas, there are lots of opportunities all over the country. Just do a "NOPLD" search.
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  29. #29
    Hello everyone,

    This Saturday Sept 22nd I will be supporting my friend and his daughter and her Girl Guides group in cleaning up our beaches. Some of the beaches around here are amazing, but not everyone has a great deal or respect for them.

    So, the group of us, I believe there will be around 13-14, will walk the popular beach areas and pick up trash and such. I will also be donating the use of my truck to help move the bags of garbage to our local landfill.

    Another piece of good news is the Regional District is waving any charges to drop the stuff off at the landfill, which is very cool of them ... maybe the received the universal global day of service memo.

    Let you all know how it works out.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Well I finally found what I'll do.

    Next Sunday I'll go pick up trash to the park I run from Monday to Friday. I won't be running, but hell the park is big!

    I'll keep you guys posted

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Well, there certainly is a wonderful pattern emerging - my son Sam and I are going out to Hurricane Island for the daylong cleanup on Saturday/29! We have a nice group of Treeleafers engaged in environmental projects!

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 09-19-2012 at 11:43 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  32. #32
    Create a blog with Dogen and others writings, to allow people to read it in french is it a service?
    I have a good translations of Nishijima's genjokoan in french who seems translated words by words with the same anotations.
    Maybe it's useless

    Gassho

    Yang Hsin

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by yang hsin View Post
    Create a blog with Dogen and others writings, to allow people to read it in french is it a service?
    I have a good translations of Nishijima's genjokoan in french who seems translated words by words with the same anotations.
    Maybe it's useless

    Gassho

    Yang Hsin
    Useless ... and wonderful. Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #34
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    As you may know, a couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 40th birthday and I wanted to celebrate putting my ego under a steamroller. Instead of buying something I don't need, I decided to donate that money to a charity. It's not much, but I think it's better that way.

    Remember that little online zazen group I had, to help Native Mexican people? Well I wanted to keep on doing some community work to thank life for 40 years, and came up with the idea to call out to all my blog readers again.

    I wrote I would hold another online "meditation for beginners" group in exchange of people donating to a charity.

    And the response has been overwhelming. Or at least a lot better than expected. A total of 75 people singed in! That's 75 people donating to food banks, UNICEF, animal rights foundations and some are even taking the idea for their own community work!!! I am humbled by this.

    Since I am not asking for money or any kind of receipt, I wrote that I'll trust in people's honesty.

    I have people signing in from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Spain.

    So I gave a lot of thought on how I'd handle a group this big and it would be crazy to have them all on Hangouts. What I'll do starting tonight is to record a podcast with some instructions and a meditation timer, along with some useful PDFs I have written over time. And I'll have a small group over Hangouts on Air on Thursday nights. This will be held for 5 or 6 weeks.

    And there you have it. This is my little Global Service project. A little more global of what I expected.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  35. #35
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Kyonin,

    Very excited for you, and proud to be practicing with you - your energy and imagination are inspiring to me -

    Thank you and

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    As you may know, a couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 40th birthday and I wanted to celebrate putting my ego under a steamroller. Instead of buying something I don't need, I decided to donate that money to a charity. It's not much, but I think it's better that way.

    Remember that little online zazen group I had, to help Native Mexican people? Well I wanted to keep on doing some community work to thank life for 40 years, and came up with the idea to call out to all my blog readers again.

    I wrote I would hold another online "meditation for beginners" group in exchange of people donating to a charity.

    And the response has been overwhelming. Or at least a lot better than expected. A total of 75 people singed in! That's 75 people donating to food banks, UNICEF, animal rights foundations and some are even taking the idea for their own community work!!! I am humbled by this.

    Since I am not asking for money or any kind of receipt, I wrote that I'll trust in people's honesty.

    I have people signing in from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Spain.

    So I gave a lot of thought on how I'd handle a group this big and it would be crazy to have them all on Hangouts. What I'll do starting tonight is to record a podcast with some instructions and a meditation timer, along with some useful PDFs I have written over time. And I'll have a small group over Hangouts on Air on Thursday nights. This will be held for 5 or 6 weeks.

    And there you have it. This is my little Global Service project. A little more global of what I expected.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    This is awesome Kyōnin!

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  37. #37
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Is the blog up yet?
    I've completed 3 of my 5 or 6 activities that I want to do. It's not panning out that everything gets done on the same day; just balancing it with the service I'm already committed to do.
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  38. #38
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Kyonin...you 'da man!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    Is the blog up yet?
    I've completed 3 of my 5 or 6 activities that I want to do. It's not panning out that everything gets done on the same day; just balancing it with the service I'm already committed to do.
    Hi Nindo!

    No, the blog isn't up yet. In the next few days it will.

    Would you like to share a note and a couple of photos for it?

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  40. #40
    Hi All,

    My plan to collect garbage from a field met with some problems this time, as it is located on private property and there are some big safety concerns for my 9 year old (due to the content of the field including old chemical drums, metal bits, glass and the like). I will try it again in the future with better planning.

    So, this time I have substituted two projects. The first involves my filming a record of a local ritual in our Japanese neighborhood that is dying out because only the old folks know how to set it up. It is a kind of trick-or-treat for the kids in which they make a special club for the children to each carry made of rice straw rope and sing a song at each house in old Ibaraki dialect. Only a few of the old folks now know how to make the rope club and the meaning of the song, so I have been making a short film showing how to make it (so that future generations will know how), and some of the old fellows explaining the words and meaning of the song. I will post the film in a week or so after the festival is finished. The ritual is so local, that most Japanese do not even know it in our own town.

    The other activity is to donate an extra day at the center for severely mentally challenged young adults where I volunteer, minding some of the students as we all go on a field trip.

    http://polan.webchasqui.com/

    It is the highlight of my week to go there, so I was happy to join.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-25-2012 at 07:36 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  41. #41
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Well I have been looking for charitable activities that I can involve with my son and I think the best thing for us to do is similar to what other folks are doing, going to the area parks and cleaning up the trash. Since Hunter is three, this seems like the best activity for to do as a family. I just created a flyer pro-bono for my martial arts school to advertise an upcoming event. They are hosting a free Halloween Safety night to teach kids and parents in the community simple steps for Halloween safety and basic self-defense. Not sure if that counts but I thought I would mention it anyway.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  42. #42
    Just so you know what I am up to:

    I am cleaning up an area near me that has become a dump (garbage, animal carcasses of illegal game and road kill) as well as a place to for folks to do to drugs. I am not involving my family in this as its not safe nor wise for 3 and 6 year old, they know what I am doing and they know why as well they already pointed out the mess that it is right now. We used to just a few years ago walk through there and after a company clear cut there it be came, some how, less valuable to some and so they began abusing it. Funny thing is its growing up now as a lovely hardwood stand of maples and birch. I figure if I take some action others will too - maybe not.

    This is an ongoing day of service that will be along time to finish. right now there are actually vultures - shocked since I have not seen them here in my life there (interesting place to comment on global warming?) picking through the garbage for the animal remains and crows going through whats left (their daily service is often unnoticed so props to them).

    Gassho
    Shohei

  43. #43
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daido View Post
    an unknown person who was in the park while we were picking up trash started doing the same. No words were spoken but smiles were exchanged.
    Kannon smiling at Kannon...beautiful Daido.

    Thanks for sharing.

    My wife and I did a food drive for a local soup kitchen which was very moving for her. Made me happy to see her heart swell and hope we can do more of these things together.

    Also, I started with a new job at Visa and they have a "Visa Volunteers" program. I think the HR lady thought I was nuts when I was mostly excited about that then the benefits and such. Every month they do a group task together. This month they had made lunches for underprivileged kids at a public school in DC. Next month we are doing a Light The Night Walk for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that I'm trying to fund raise for now.

    Also, my 4 year old's birthday is today (and I'm in California...kind of a bummer) and we will have a birthday party this weekend for her. We've asked the parents to make a donation to Save the Children in lieu of gifts.

    I've been searching for new opportunities to volunteer in the Virginia area and there are many. One humorous note was an opportunity for a Belly Dancing volunteer. While I arguably have the "Belly" aspect covered, not so sure on the dancing part.

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anaïs Nin

  44. #44
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi everyone. You are an inspiring lot!

    Here's what I'm doing:

    Last week I volunteered to help Sister Flanagan, the college chaplain here, help this year's first year, freshman students deal with their problems: adjusting to college, anxiety issues, depression, referring them to the college counsellor, etc.
    I am available to them twice a week for an hour each time. I’m astounded by the level of anxiety, panic attacks and depression out there among these young people.

    Not exactly a "day" of service, but an ongoing commitment for the year.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  45. #45
    There are so many beautiful ideas on this thread! Thanks to all of you for your work and inspiration.

    I have been talking to my 4 year old about ideas for service for a few days. As a family we had hoped to do clean-up at our favorite parks/playgrounds but the weather worked against us today. We'll try again this weekend (and hopefully regularly after that). Instead I spoke with my daughters this morning about gratitude and all the really basic things they have in their lives and the many people in our own city that do not have those basic needs met. The three of us made a trip to the store with a list of things we could get to make care packs for those in need/homeless. The biggest challenge here was not financial (though we spent enough to "feel" it) and it was not time so much but it was taking a 2 year old and 4 year old to the store and reminding them why we were there... not for us, or what we want, or what we think we need, but for other people and what they need to help them where they are. Both girls helped pick out things for the packs like gloves, socks, snacks, toothpaste, etc... and this evening as a family we will work together to assemble the packs and in the coming days distribute them.

    Gassho,
    Lindsay

  46. #46
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    That's lovely Lindsay!
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  47. #47
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Myozan wrote: "Not exactly a "day" of service, but an ongoing commitment for the year."

    I am inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of all my sisters and brothers: Nindo, Lindsay, Myozan, Shohei, Dokan, all of you.... In designing the Global Day of Service, we have endeavored to be as flexible as possible in giving folks the opportunity to be of service in their communities in a way that is meaningful to them.... and becomes part of their ongoing practice. It is strongly encouraged that all participate in the quarterly Global Day of Service, but Myozan (in your thorough and thoughtful way) you have hit upon the real purpose: service is not something we do quarterly or periodically, but something that becomes a seamless part of our practice.... on an ongoing basis.... to the point where not to serve would leave us feeling a void in our lives.... I think working with Sister Flanagan is outstanding and that you will be absolutely of great assistance and support to those who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Thank you so much for your post.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 09-26-2012 at 12:09 AM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  48. #48
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    I've been quiet about my project lately, mostly because my fundraising effort for the high school chess program has been falling short of where it needs to be. It's not entirely surprising that this is the case, as many of those that have been generous in the past have had to become very selective on their charitable gifts. Still, things are moving forward, just not at the pace I had previously projected.

    The high school's new computer lab is getting some open source chess software that will allow the students who can already play to 'train' and allow eager students to begin learning to play. My objective was to provide high quality commercial software that would make things flow a lot better, but until I can secure that funding or donation, it's going to wait. I've also started work with the participating teachers on 'instructing chess', this will likely be on-going. We also have a small group of kids at two different schools that had prior exposure to the game, and have shown interest in learning more, so I've set those students up with online chess, where they can play others at school and home at a similar skill level to themselves. It's my hope that these students can also help to create more interest among their peers.

    Since I'm a solid six-weeks behind on this project, a full-blown Hip Hop Chess Federation tournament will likely have to wait until after the Winter break, probably Late-January or February.

    Thank you all for your efforts during this service period. I just took a moment to re-read all of the posts on this thread, and as Yugen just mentioned, it's inspiring and precisely the fuel I need to keep my projects moving.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  49. #49
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    I've been picking up and throwing away random trash and litter ever since this thread started.

    Haven't had my day of service yet. Still looking through options around here, and continuing my weekly volunteering at a local historic site.

    Gassho

    Jen
    The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice. --Shunryu Suzuki

  50. #50
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    A little bird reminded me that I haven't posted about my commitments for the current service days. My plan is to take my son to pick up garbage along a local trail and/or park. I hadn't mentioned the idea to him yet, figuring that I should only tell him right before to see if he wanted to go. Well, I am a proud papa because just the other day he noticed some trash on our street and said we should go around and pick it up.

    I'm also planning to give blood if I can this weekend, but in both cases here's the thing: I'm kind of scared. The blood thing terrifies me, but I really want to do it as a regular thing in addition to another service project. Why? Because I'm terrified! It will never be as bad as my mind is making it out to be and that fear controls me. The habit of fear can become more comfortable than facing that fear, although at the time it doesn't feel that way.

    But for full disclsoure, I'm a bit scared about the trash pickup too. That one can be chalked up to continuing issues with anxiety and depression that sometimes make me nervous to leave the house! Being a stay at home dad without any help from family is a contributing factor for sure, but I have come to know that facing my fears is the only Way (pun intended). There is a threat of rain, there are 2 birthday parties this weekend as well as little league and haircuts! Sometimes I walk out of the house without my wallet, keys, or cellphone...imagine the most stereotypical absent minded professor type and multiply it by at least 2 times...ok, 4.

    I just wanted to say that we all have challenges and my wanting to help other people is not a challenge, but my fear in doing something is quite certainly the biggest challenge I face. At times it feels ridiculous to get nervous by just leaving the house, but it has been with me for years and that fear became a habit. And with all habits, kicking it will be a series of false starts, periods of reverting back to old patterns, but hopefully eventual progress. That fear will always be with me and while I can't control IT, I can control how it affects ME.

    So, if like me you are finding this service project to be a challenge, do not despair! My view is that this first go around will fall somewhere between failure and our greatest hopes of success (everything does!). The only failure that is possible is not trying. Do your best, keep it up, and if you find mountains to climb give yourself some slack. The Way can be a bumpy road at times...and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

    Thank you all for your practice and your service.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

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