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Shoka
02-18-2018, 03:37 PM
Hi everyone,

We are going to try out a new approach to the engaged center.

For me, service and being of help to others is one of the cornerstones to Buddhist practice. But over the years I have not found it easy to do so. Often it is difficult to think of ways to help, or to feel like what Iím doing makes a difference. Often, I start looking for ways to volunteer or be of service and find the road difficult. You would think it would be easy to be of service, but I often feel it isnít. There are so many things in this world that need our help but sometimes it is just so hard to know where to start.

So I would like to try a new approach, which Iím hopefully will help all of us engage with the problems of world around us and help each of us find ways to be of service.

The idea of the new approach is as follows, we will pick a topic to discuss and engage with for about 6 months, from now until we start preparing for Ango. There will be couple months of discussion about the topic itself, where I will ask everyone to go and learn about the theme, share stories and really broaden our understanding.

Then we will move on to talking about ways we can be of service; how can we contribute to helping? There are a multitude of ways to get involved, and I really want to encourage people to think outside of the box. This portion of the project is really meant to help everyone feel they have a way that they could be useful. From suggestions that are small and can be used for your LAH commit, to large projects and everything in between.

Finally for those of us who are moved, we will spend a couple months seeing what service we can do. How can we help and discussing how it went.

There are two very important things I want to stress here.

First, we are not leaving LAH behind. This Engaged Project is meant to help people look around and engage more deeply and help people be inspired. If you are having trouble finding ways to participate in LAH we will talk about the small daily things that could be done, we will also discuss larger ways to volunteer if you are moved by the topic and want to be of service that way.

Second, if you already have a charity that you work for we donít want you to stop doing that work and do this instead. And this doesnít have to be in addition. If you feel you already give enough (or there just isnít time to do more), that is completely acceptable. But please do join us for the discussions. And help others who are maybe struggling and could use support.

Lastly, I really want to encourage everyone to be supportive of ideas that are put out as ways to help. I remember a conversation with a volunteer who had just gotten back from helping with refugees from Syria. He was helping to deliver food and clothing. He told me that while the refugees took what was offered, they also stated it wasnít what they needed. They really needed jobs, so they could get their lives going again. Unfortunately this organization couldnít provide jobs, all they could do was help the refugees have food and clothing until the situation changed. This realization was really upsetting to this gentleman because he felt like what he had done wasnít enough or maybe wasnít even helpful. But I would argue, sometimes there are limits to what we are able to do. The best thing for the refugees would have been to get them all jobs, but that just wasnít possible at that time. And so they needed to provide what they could.

With the information and abilities we have, we do the best we can and sometimes it isnít enough. But that shouldnít deter us from trying to help. And if we always look at the reasons we shouldnít or why what we are doing isnít enough; then we will never get started.

Iím going to leave us with what I hope becomes a bit of a mantra around the Engaged Center

ďOne rain drop raises the sea.Ē

No matter how small the contribution it will help raise us all, so please join us in this engaged project.

Gassho,

Shoka
sattoday

Whatís next:
ē Consider joining us in these discussions and possibly service
ē Keep an eye out for new posts with prompts for discussion
ē Join us for discussion even if you already volunteer for a different cause
ē Donít feel that your contribution is too small, every rain drop matters!

aprapti
02-18-2018, 03:59 PM
nice approach Shoka.

gassho2
Coos

std

Shinshi
02-18-2018, 04:11 PM
This sounds like a great idea Shoka.

You mentioned second hand clothing and I was just reading about how this is a problem in parts of Africa. I would never have guessed that donated clothing would be a problem - but once I read the articles it made sense. Some African countries are considering banning donated clothing.

It is interesting how the best intentions can have negative consequences. Donating clothing in Africa is actually negatively impacting industry.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/06/second-hand-clothing-donations-kenya

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/these-african-countries-dont-want-your-used-clothing-anymore_us_57cf19bce4b06a74c9f10dd6

Gassho, Shinshi

SaT-LaH

Shingen
02-18-2018, 04:11 PM
Very Shoka, thank you. =)

Gassho
Shingen

Sat/LAH

Jundo
02-18-2018, 04:14 PM
Dear All,

I just want to say briefly how much I support this effort and thank Shoka for her energy and creative thinking in introducing this project for our Sangha. I look forward to this and its future development.

Gassho, Jundo

SatTodayLAH

Tairin
02-18-2018, 04:32 PM
Sounds like a great initiative. Thank you. I struggle to bring this aspect to life in my own practice. I do donate money to a number of charities but often not my time. I look forward to the discussion. Count me in.

gassho2
Tairin
Sat today & lah

Eva
02-18-2018, 06:11 PM
Thank You Shoka for bringing this into our attention .
I'm very much interested in being part of it in any way I can.

Gassho,
eva
sattoday and also LAH

Geika
02-18-2018, 08:05 PM
Thank you Shoka, I will ride along. I also feel stuck when it comes to engaged service. I do LAH, freerice, but out in the world, besides picking up trash, I am not doing much.

Gassho, sat today, lah

Kyousui
02-19-2018, 01:56 AM
I'll add my piece here as support for the idea and will keep watching for new posts. One of the Ango requirements this past year was to LAH daily. Before that, I struggled with things to come up with. That requirement helped me to look closer at my life and see what I was doing routinely. I'm retired, and a bachelor, so volunteering is important as a way to keep my mind active. It's also a good way to develop my bodhichitta.

Sat LAH

Jakuden
02-19-2018, 02:18 AM
Thank you so much for all your thought and effort Shoka! Looking forward to participating!

Gassho,
Jakuden
SatToday/LAH

Washin
02-19-2018, 09:19 AM
Thank you, Shoka.
I always have a little struggle when it comes to fully engaged service.
I too am looking forwarding to participating in the project as much as I can.

Gassho
Washin
sat/lah

KellyRok
02-19-2018, 07:57 PM
I'm looking forward to being a part of this initiative and discussions. Thank you Shoka for taking the reigns.

Gassho,
Kelly/Jinmei
sattoday/lah

Meitou
02-21-2018, 08:24 PM
Thank you for this initiative Shoka, I'm always looking for ways to be more engaged with service, it's difficult here for various reasons, so I look forward to seeing what comes out of our discussions here.

Gassho
Meitou
sattoday/lah

Souchi
02-22-2018, 12:07 PM
Shoka, thanks for suggesting this new approach.

Gassho,
Stefan/Souchi

SatToday

Ryudo
02-22-2018, 09:05 PM
gassho2
Thank you Shoka,
Hope that I too can contribute to this.

Gassho
Ryudo
SatToday

Byokan
02-23-2018, 09:57 PM
Shoka,

totally awesome, way cool. Really looking forward to exploring this together! :encouragement:

Gassho
Byōkan
sat + lah

Seishin
02-24-2018, 10:12 AM
Thank you Shoka, look forward to seeing how this develops, as I to find this a challenge given our rural location and some language difficulties.

Jyukatsu
02-24-2018, 06:03 PM
Thank you Shoka, I look forward to participating.

Gassho,
Jyķkatsu
sattoday

Shoka
03-04-2018, 04:59 PM
Thank you everyone who posted. I hope we will all get something out of the discussions and talking opening together about this practice.

Gassho,

Shoka
sattoday

Tai Shi
03-08-2018, 11:40 AM
To become more like those who teach me wisdom
Selflessness, care, understanding, this I do
Daily, hope for no recognition, no attainment
I offer nearly daily, what I can offer in HIPPA
Guard of others, private, love silence, talk
Giving where no one gives, soon more than phone
Giving as I can, as full recovered knee,
Yes I see this!

Tai Shi
st today/lah
Gassho