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Thread: Treeleaf Global Service Days December 15-29 2012

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Treeleaf Global Service Days December 15-29 2012

    Greetings all!

    Our next Global Service Days are upon us - December 15-29! As if there weren't enough going on - Ango - Jukai preparations - Rohatsu - oh, I forgot to mention jobs, families and personal lives!

    It's the holiday season and Global Service Days offer the perfect opportunity to remember those who are suffering, to share our fellowship and humanity with those who are ill, hungry, lonely, afflicted by anger, incarcerated, or just in need of a warm and friendly presence.

    When I think about all the activities going on at Treeleaf, it occurs to me that they are all part of our practice lives as Buddhists, particularly for those who have taken the precepts. For the longest time I would feel harried or put upon (not another task or exercise!....don't they know I have a life?), and then without realizing it, these tasks became practices, which then became part of my daily life - which now seems empty without them.....

    I've done a lot of thinking about my vows as a layperson - the first of the Four Bodhisattva Vows expresses our intention to relieve the suffering of others (Beings are numberless - I vow to save them)... this does not mean that we can or must try to save all beings... but it does express the intention of our practice, which is never ending.... Zen practitioners correctly interpret this to mean sharing the Dharma with others through practice in a Sangha and sitting Zazen - and I believe it can also mean engaging in meaningful acts of compassionate service to others - and that is what our Global Day of Service is about.

    My own practice has a substantial (and primary) Zazen component - and I have the remarkable good fortune to be supported by many of you in the Sangha on G+, and during our weekly Zazenkai. I now realize that engaging in service to others is for me an increasingly important, necessary, and urgent expression of the vow I have taken as a Buddhist, in addition to Zazen. In the Mahayana tradition, we are Bodhisattvas - and in the act of committing ourselves to relieving the suffering of others, sacrifice the achievement of Buddhahood for the reason that we have "stayed behind" to be of service.

    In this holiday season my family and I have decided to cut back dramatically on the gift giving and expenditures associated with presents, and instead focus upon our good fortune to be together and commit ourselves to spending time with those less fortunate. We will plan activities around preparing and serving meals during the holiday, and providing warm clothing (from things that we think we need, but really don't because we are attached to them). The Global Day of Service becomes not just an activity I do a few times a year at Treeleaf, but part of my life, and part of my family's life.

    Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to practice and learn with you. I am truly grateful.

    What are you going to do?

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 12-05-2012 at 02:08 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

  2. #2
    Wonderful Yugen, thank you for this, for you, and for all Treeleafer's for their practice and support.

    I am also on the same path this year to put my time and money towards helping those less fortunate them myself. One thing that I have done is gotten gift certificates to a local grocery story so folks may get some beautiful food and share with their family, or for themselves if that is the case.

    A great idea I got from my friend and we are going to do together this year is, get some little individual boxes of Christmas chocolates with a Merry Christmas card attached and hand them out at the local church/food bank/salvation army (where I live all three of those organizations are in the same place).

    Deep Bows
    Michael



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  3. #3
    Senior Member rculver's Avatar
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    Because of work commitments, we'll keep it pretty low-key in December. We do always make it a point of selecting two people from a "giving tree" at my sons' school and picking out some presents for them. We make it a "family" sort of thing to remind us to (hopefully) not take what we have for granted.
    Shugen

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    We've already "adopted" a girl from the inner city whose Christmas list mostly included clothes and school supplies. We're going to get her something "fun" too. Many are in need, so do what you can this holiday season. It's rather cliche, but it is a wonderful gift you are giving to someone else as well as yourself...the feeling is wonderful and infinitely better than any necktie you may receive.

    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.

  5. #5
    Dear All,

    It is that time of year when all traditions and religions come together teaching charity, benevolence, generosity, justice. Now is our chance to open our hearts too. These are lessons to teach our children, showing them that there are others in the world less fortunate, and the power we have to offer comfort or a helping hand. It is a time to open our own hearts, and truly put into Practice that all sentients beings are not two.

    Sometime during this season, please take a single day ... a full day if possible ... to offer some of your time and energy "hands on" to aid human beings in your community. For these activities, we strongly encourage you not merely to write a check (although there is that too), or to fold envelopes in a back room, but to get out ... reach out face-to-face and contact ... some situation in your town or area where there are fellow humans in need. There is a time to write a check ... and we encourage you to do as you can, and a little more ... trading something you merely want for what others truly need. As well, this can be part of a regular volunteer activity you already undertake on a regular basis, which you can also dedicate to this Day of Service. However, in this case, we strongly encourage you to get out to engage in some activity with actual contact with the people in distress, lonely, in simple need of a shoulder to lean on. Even if you are homebound, there are ways to do so ... to do what you can (become a penpal for a dozen other homebound folks perhaps) ... if we use our creativity. All the more so if we can get out and do some work.

    While we ask for some anonymity in this doing ... and we seek to take no personal credit, dedicating and giving away any merit from this completely to others ... we can also kick some ideas around. We make plans, work hard, but with no thought of attainment. There is no one activity that we are recommending for everyone, and each can find his or her own. However, again, we are emphasizing something "hand on" which does not keep to a distance. Last time, we had some wonderful suggestions ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...s-for-Projects

    This too is Practice, this too is Zazen ... off the cushion and out in the world.

    Below are some ideas for winter volunteer activities found around the internet. Any others?

    Gassho, Jundo


    Meals on Wheels - your local area will sometimes provides services for the elderly who cannot leave their home to get a meal. When patients are home bound meals are usually delivered everyday. Their staffing sometimes drops off during the winter months due to holidays or they need more people due to a higher demand for help. Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Meals on Wheels are often particularly in need.

    Help to senior citizens - Check your local senior citizens agencies, city hall and organization which will also be listed in the phone book. This organization maintains a list of possible volunteer opportunities for the young and old alike. Your entire family can bring holiday to senior citizens by delivering fruit or flower baskets and homemade cards.

    Veterans Hospitals - Any local Veterans Administration office may be able to help locate the need for volunteers in their hospital or any local office that caters to Veterans. Visits or pen pals are an option.

    Many senior citizens cherish their pets. Seniors on limited incomes often have difficulty paying for pet food and supplies. How about getting your children to collect pet food and then donate it to a senior center? One family I know got out their trusty red wagon and went door to door in their neighborhood, asking pet owners to donate food. (Ask people without pets if they can make a cash donation.) Also, a good reason to befriend the pet owner who might need a friendly tea partner.

    Organize a blanket drive for the homeless, one of our suggested Rohatsu activities ... New and gently used winter coats, fleeces, winter boots, hats and mittens are always in demand.
    https://sites.google.com/site/buddhi...s/onelastrally

    Connect with an agency (like The Volunteers of America Misson) that can use your winter wear, such as homeless shelters, low-income pediatric clinics, youth shelters, transition homes, and women’s and children’s shelters. Ask the agency what it will accept. Will they take gently used coats, boots, fleeces, sweaters, hats and mittens? Are there certain items that must be new? Search your closets. Wash all items. Do not give coats or any other items with broken zippers, rips or stains.

    Serve food at a homeless shelter, often shorthanded and crowded during the holidays.

    Help families provide Christmas toys for their children. Many local agencies families and volunteers from the community. Volunteer sponsors are asked to provide two new toys or books for each child.

    Put up Christmas trees, decorate, hang ornaments, etc. for seniors and others that are disabled and unable to do their own.

    ... and many more ...
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-07-2012 at 12:46 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Oh, I thought this was an annual thing. How regularly are we going to do this?
    I'm sure I'm going to think of something

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Hi Nindo,
    We are planning the Global day of Service on a quarterly basis at Treeleaf - every three months.... the idea being that engaged service in the community become not only a seamless part of one's practice, but one's life..... there are Treeleafers who already engage in community and individual service projects (well before we launched GDS) which translate well into our service effort.... so we have attempted to build plenty of flexibility into the program given that everyone has busy lives...

    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

  8. #8
    Hello,

    Given the difficulties that I had last time around, I've decided to work on my own for this--I'm going to take a page out of my Theravadin past and start observing the Uposatha days again (or as close as I can get, work and class permitting)--instead of taking the Eight Precepts and hanging out around the house reading and sitting, though, I'm going to use these as my Days of Service. I can't afford to give any substantial amount of cash to an organization, but I can afford flour, yeast, and sandwich-ey things. There's a pretty large homeless population in Denver, and I think that doing something in the spirit of the Burrito Project would be appropriate.

    Short summary video:


    I'm going to try to start with two days a month, and if I can keep that up add in the other two.

    I'll let you all know how it goes.

    In Gassho,

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

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun View Post
    Hello,

    Given the difficulties that I had last time around, I've decided to work on my own for this--I'm going to take a page out of my Theravadin past and start observing the Uposatha days again (or as close as I can get, work and class permitting)--instead of taking the Eight Precepts and hanging out around the house reading and sitting, though, I'm going to use these as my Days of Service. I can't afford to give any substantial amount of cash to an organization, but I can afford flour, yeast, and sandwich-ey things. There's a pretty large homeless population in Denver, and I think that doing something in the spirit of the Burrito Project would be appropriate.

    Short summary video:


    I'm going to try to start with two days a month, and if I can keep that up add in the other two.

    I'll let you all know how it goes.

    In Gassho,

    Saijun
    This is wonderful idea Saijun, thanks for the share.

    Gassho
    Michael



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  10. #10
    Will do.

    Peace!
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  11. #11
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    Hey Everyone,

    Another suggestion is volunteering with a local suicide prevention line. I always wondered how much these lines help, and since I now work in the mental health field I asked my supervisor. She said people do call and really do get help from them! Plus a lot of organizations forward calls to your cell so you can go about your day AND be volunteering (your number is always kept private if they use that method.)

    Also hoping to get together with Saijun and crank out some burritos!

    Still thinking of other volunteer oportunities. There are surprisingly few in the mountains. Might be volunteering with a therapeutic horseback riding program as well. Charity is something so close to my heart.

    I wish you all the best, always!

    Gassho,
    Dani

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi guys!

    I'm doing a couple of nice small projects:

    I created a little movement with a bunch of friends, readers and family. I am promoting generosity by showing them that it is possible to buy less stuff and to donate a little of that extra money to charity. So far everyone seems happy with the idea and there have been about 12 people donating and spreading the idea. It's amazing how people think it's so novel and crazy to donate instead of buying.

    I'm writing on the blog and using Twitter (very popular in Mexico and Spain) to promote the idea.

    Also I designated two projects from my business to be charity work. All the income from those will be donated to the Rarámuri (Native Mexicans).

    Finally I was invited to host a public meditation session in Mexico City for young people in risk of getting into gangs. I'll do that on December 16th. A dharma punk invited me. He is into Noah Levine's work. He will pay for my bus ticket to Mexico City.

    And of course my charity hosting is still going and growing. Right now I have 10 projects hosted!

    Lastly, but very important to me, is the story of Narayan Krishnan. To me he is an inspiration and a Buddha. Hope he inspire you as well.



    More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narayanan_Krishnan

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    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

  13. #13
    My wife, son and I will be going on a day hike up Tsukuba mountain to pick up trash.

    I am also going to see if I can borrow the Santa Claus suit from the church (I was Santa last weekend there), and Santa at a local orphanage and old age home.


    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    OK. So I've been thinking about this carefully - we're all about relieving the suffering of sentient (and insentient) beings, but who said we can't have fun in the process? There are times to be serious, and there are times to cut loose a bit, and do some good at the same time.

    On New Year's Eve, the Natural Resources Defense Council of Maine is hosting a 5K run/walk followed by a Polar Bear Dip in Portland Harbor at East End Beach. Proceeds contributed and raised are used to address climate change/global warming. I'm signing up. Since it's on 12/31, I put it to the Sangha: can we extend the Global Service period for two extra days? Maybe it can be like the closing ceremony for this service period.... Evidently there is an award for "Best Polar Bear Costume." Stay tuned.

    Any Treeleafers who would like to join me are welcome! Maybe I will enter the water reciting the Heart Sutra and watch my voice go up three octaves.....

    Hey Kyonin, whatcha doin' New Year's Eve?

    http://www.nrcm.org/dipdash.asp

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 12-14-2012 at 01:26 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

  15. #15
    Hello all,

    There are some really wonderful efforts here!

    We adopted a child from a battered women/children shelter for the holidays and my children picked out clothes, books, and puzzles for him. I am also in the process of becoming a volunteer at the shelter. It is a lengthy process with background checks and such; so once I'm cleared I can participate more.

    This weekend, I would like to have my family walk through our neighborhood and pick up garbage as it seems to be everywhere.

    gassho,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  16. #16
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    We try our best to help where we can throughout the year. But we do appreciate this "tree leaf" effort as well. So, as we speak, the youngest of us (charlie) is visiting 5 retirement communities today, singing "Christmas songs". This was his solo effort to volunteer for. As a family, we're still looking for a place to best help out somewhere over the next few days.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    This may sound really lame, but my service will be to prepare an evening course about the basics of Buddhism and meditation. It will start on January 10th, and with all the overtime I was doing for the last 5 weeks, I haven't made much progress in the preparations - need to get cracking this week and next!

  18. #18
    Hello,

    I really really like the fact that we make engaged practise an integral part of the Treeleaf lineage flavour, but was wondering about the original idea of keeping our activities "anonymous"?

    Maybe it's a cultural thing....don't let my scepticism keep anyone from sharing what they have to share. ibow down to your commitment and compassionate actions.

    All the best and gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hans,

    I believe the original idea was that we didn't want people comparing experiences or trying to say, "Hey, look at what I did!" However, many people ended up reporting what they had done anyway.

    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.

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Hans and Dosho,
    Yes, early on the idea was to have activities be anonymous, but the trend has been that some people choose to share their activities (and that has gained momentum). In preparation for our second Global Service Period we considered closing the thread and having a moderator post anonymous activity reports, but we decided against it. I think there are some dedicated practitioners who enjoy sharing their activities here, it may motivate others, and lend some ideas and support for Engaged practice and service. We felt that these factors outweighed the likelihood that public sharing would discourage or intimidate others away from participating. We also have recognized from the start that many Treeleafers already engage in some form of community service as part of their lives, well before we ever launched this inititiative, and do not feel the need to draw attention to their work. We have attempted to structure (or non-structure!) this project so people have maximum flexibility in pursuing their activities.

    Always eager and grateful for everyone's thoughts on this matter.

    Deep bows,
    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

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    So what happened to the blog idea, Yugen?

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Nindo,
    The blog is at the following address:
    http://globalserviceday.org/

    We have not formally announced a launch as I have been extremely slow in populating with content. Many thanks to Kyonin who has done all the hard work and is waiting for me, the slowpoke, to catch up.... but please have a look and feel free to make suggestions!

    Deep bows,
    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

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    Nindo,
    The blog is at the following address:
    http://globalserviceday.org/

    We have not formally announced a launch as I have been extremely slow in populating with content. Many thanks to Kyonin who has done all the hard work and is waiting for me, the slowpoke, to catch up.... but please have a look and feel free to make suggestions!

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Yugen,

    Looking great so far ... thank you to you and Kyonin for your hard work and dedication.

    Gassho
    Michael



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  24. #24
    Well done!

    Gassho,

    Daido


  25. #25
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    With my schools on break, I hadn't really planned anything for this service period. Our parks here are always a mess, perhaps I will take a day and collect trash and engorged weeds. There are always civic things to do.

    Thanks to everybody getting out to do something kind for their communities.

    Yugen, I'd polar bear with you. It's kind of a tradition in my family. My Father water skied Lake Tahoe on New Years Day (and that's a very cold lake).

    Gassho.
    Chris

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    So what happened to the blog idea, Yugen?
    Yes, we've been working on the blog for a while. I think it's going fine and it's now ready to be populated with content!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    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

  27. #27
    Here is an organization I just discovered.... Librivox.org. The idea behind Librivox is that historical literature, the knowledge and culture it represents, be accessible to all for free, for teaching purposes, for personal discovery . To that end Librivox is an expanding downloadable library of free recorded books.. read by volunteers. This is a completely volunteer, non-profit organization, giving back what is already in, and should remain in, the public domain. I love to read, especially history and historical writings, and will be volunteering to make recordings (after some practice) . There are other ways of helping too, letting people who are seeking free recorded material for teaching purposes about this resource.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  28. #28
    Today was a lovely day, as we held an all day Christmas Party at a home for challenged kids here in Tsukuba. Part of the time, I was Santa ... although the costume seems a little confused about whether I am Santa or one of the elves.



    My reindeer were very cute, however (some of the kids' moms).




    Frankly, Brad Warner has nothing on me with that bunny suit.




    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-25-2012 at 03:29 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  29. #29
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    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.

  30. #30
    Brilliant Jundo! I especially like the bow tie.

    Gassho,

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

  31. #31
    Yes, I love the outfit Jundo.

    Gassho
    Michael



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  32. #32
    Hi.

    For this Global day of service we, my son and i, have been picking out some of his toys that he "didn't need" anymore and will later next week, the charityplace is closed during the holidays, deliver them to charity, sort of an late "santa" or giftgiving..
    This has been and will be an wonderful opportunity for practice, both him learning about giving and other teachings, as well as giving something to those in need, while doing all this as an family.

    Thank you for your practice.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  33. #33
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    My youngest son and I spent a half day today at the local Food bank/pantry packing food parcels for delivery and sorting food contributions. Every other Saturday we drop off a bag of items, which usually include pasta sauce, pasta, oranges, peanut butter, and crackers. We often add coffee and cocoa. He has come to look forward to this.... it feels as if something is missing from our routine if we don't go...

    It is interesting to see how the different threads of practice come together. We have been reciting the Meal chant together at dinnertime. We are becoming more thoughtful about our consumption, and relationship to food.

    Deep bows,
    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

  34. #34
    Hello Kojip,

    thanks for pointing out Librivox. I'll have to do some research whether anything like it exists in Germany...the idea is great!

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

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