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Thread: LAH suggestions for Ango

  1. #1

    LAH suggestions for Ango

    Ango is a special time of year for the sangha, it is a time when we come together and deepen our practice. For me it’s like a time to dust away the cobwebs which have maybe been forming in the corners of my practice. So with that in mind, let’s all dust away the cobwebs around LAH and volunteer service.

    The current Partner Practice Exercise is related to LAH and service, so I thought it would be a good time to have everyone give examples and ideas of things you could do for LAH.

    Also please give ideas for one day volunteer service projects and long term volunteer opportunities.

    And as always please share what you are doing! Remember Gojo is around to post anonymously for you.
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  2. #2
    I am currently writing down my ideas for my 2nd official 'Ango' with Tree Leaf, the last one was unrefined. I wrote down a list of five things I'd like to accomplish, so I can stay motivated during our dwelling period. A book I am currently reading is titled "Life of a Daymaker", which a hairdresser describes his profession as someone who makes someone's day very happy. I am currently job seeking while unemployed, I am trying to be an active member of the community by participating in events and classes. Also, I'd like to add that I will be making my mala beads necklace as well. It's a project that I have shelved for a year now, so this would make a good time to complete the project.


    What Will Beakon Be Doing?


    1. Tinkertown Day of Fun: I went to a carnival where I used the rides as therapy to get an adrenaline boost, not just to amuse myself, I also got in touch with my inner child and celebrated life with my friends and wife.

    2. Taiko Drumming Workshop: The Japanese Cultural Centre in Winnipeg is putting on a Taiko Drumming Workshop for teenagers, and also adults who are interested in trying Taiko. I will be participating there, because I often listen to Taiko Drumming music to "refill" my spirit.

    3. Zazenkai & Sangha Participation: I am going to increase my time spent with The Tree Leaf Sangha during our Sunday Sit's and Weekly Zazenkai to help me improve my practice of liturgy and zazen. I will be asking for mentorship on Shikantaza and improving schedule for meditation times.

    4. Qi Gong & Tai Chi Class: There is a Qi Gong and Tai Chi Class that is taught in the neighborhood nearby Osborne Village where I reside. I need to participate in classes, also exercise to help me improve my mood and concentration.

    5. Community Involvement: I am putting my name in for several events to volunteer for such as our local Comic Con, the 2nd annual Veg Fest, A Dog Fundraiser, and Fem Fest. I may help a friend who also has ADD with her bake sale.
    "May I be a flashlight to all beings living in life's dreary and despicable basement" - Sean C.T.

  3. #3
    Hi Shoka,

    I have been thinking a lot how poor people become invisible. We tend to ignore them, or to look down onto them.

    Maybe a nice activity would be to get involved in a group or organization that helps combat poverty in our communities?

    Perhaps giving time working at a food bank would be a good idea.

    I'll sit with this a little more

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi Shoka,

    I have been thinking a lot how poor people become invisible. We tend to ignore them, or to look down onto them.

    Maybe a nice activity would be to get involved in a group or organization that helps combat poverty in our communities?

    Perhaps giving time working at a food bank would be a good idea.

    I'll sit with this a little more

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    A couple of weeks ago I came across a person here in town who presumably lives on the street although I don’t know. He was carrying a cardboard sign with a single word written on it. “Forgotten”. That really struck home to me. This wasn’t a person who felt they were seen but could be ignored. This was a person who felt completely left behind and abandoned.

    I’d like to be able to say that I took that opportunity to LAH or money or some assistance but it wasn’t s good moment for me to stop and help. So unfortunately even though he was temporarily seen he ended up being ignored Not forgotten though. That moment and my lack of action has stuck with me and hopefully I will act better in another opportunity.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  5. #5
    Last night my wife went for a walk, she bought a homeless person a slice of pizza from a nearby pizzaria. She told me, they asked "what did you do to the pizza?". She felt sorry that some of these people were mistreated like that in the past, because they are homeless, and society looks down on them.
    "May I be a flashlight to all beings living in life's dreary and despicable basement" - Sean C.T.

  6. #6
    Hello,

    there is a campaign from a christian social welfare organisation in my hometown.
    Huge advertisement posters through the city just with the words:
    "Unerhört! diese Obdachlosen (#zuhören)"
    which has two meanings.
    the most obvious: "outrageous, these homeless"
    and the one, after thinking about it: "unheard, these homeless (#listen)".

    Gassho,
    Kotei just sat.
    Last edited by Kotei; 09-12-2018 at 07:55 AM.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  7. #7
    Thank you, Tairin, for sharing .
    That person is in my thoughts as well .

    Gassho, eva

    sattoday and also LAH

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    A couple of weeks ago I came across a person here in town who presumably lives on the street although I don’t know. He was carrying a cardboard sign with a single word written on it. “Forgotten”. That really struck home to me. This wasn’t a person who felt they were seen but could be ignored. This was a person who felt completely left behind and abandoned.

    I’d like to be able to say that I took that opportunity to LAH or money or some assistance but it wasn’t s good moment for me to stop and help. So unfortunately even though he was temporarily seen he ended up being ignored Not forgotten though. That moment and my lack of action has stuck with me and hopefully I will act better in another opportunity.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    Tairin,

    I think it's important to recognize that we can't always stop and help but as you said at the moment you acknowledged him and he wasn't forgotten. And perhaps in the future there will be an opportunity to help more directly.


    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  9. #9
    Hey everyone,

    So some ideas I came up with.

    Around the neighborhood

    * pick up trash when it's laying around
    * pick up after other people's pets (it's builds up when we don't all pick it up)
    * Smile and say Hello to everyone I pass (I tend to avoid people)

    At work (I work in construction, so these might not be applicable to everyone)

    * watch for safety concerns and have them fixed right away
    * Smile and talk to the guys (often they get ignored as "just workers")
    * Bring baked goods for the workers or for meetings (we all hate meetings, cupcakes make it better.)
    * Think before sending emails if my reply is helpful or not.

    Around the house or inside activities

    * Send thank you or thinking of you cards
    * Donate books to local charities

    Larger Volunteer Ideas

    * Volunteer for trail maintenance or clean up
    * Volunteer for beach clean up days
    * Research winter homeless shelters for opportunities for service


    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sat+lah
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  10. #10
    Joyo
    Guest
    If you live in a colder climate, schools are always in need of mittens, warm coats, ski pants, because sadly there are children sent to school without these essential items to keep them warm.

    Various schools also take perishable food donations for lunches as there are children who are not sent to school with a proper lunch, or with any lunch at all.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today/lah

  11. #11
    A party without a cake is just a meeting - Julia Child
    "May I be a flashlight to all beings living in life's dreary and despicable basement" - Sean C.T.

  12. #12
    Posting in this forum could be LAH. Especially for those of us for whom social interaction, even on a online forum, is difficult sometimes. I know I've stopped myself from posting by saying "no, that's stupid" when it probably really wasn't, or by being nervous about saying vulnerable things, or worried about people's reaction. But I've read so many posts here that have been helpful to my practice and life, and people here have unknowingly lent me a hand with their comments. So post! You never know who might be helped by your words. Even if you think it's stupid! It probably isn't. But even if you're completely off the rails, we can learn from that too! It gives Jundo an opportunity to pop in and say "maybe that's not quite right"
    All jokes aside, this is an amazing community, and it grows and thrives as people make posts.
    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by nickbo View Post
    Posting in this forum could be LAH. Especially for those of us for whom social interaction, even on a online forum, is difficult sometimes. I know I've stopped myself from posting by saying "no, that's stupid" when it probably really wasn't, or by being nervous about saying vulnerable things, or worried about people's reaction. But I've read so many posts here that have been helpful to my practice and life, and people here have unknowingly lent me a hand with their comments. So post! You never know who might be helped by your words. Even if you think it's stupid! It probably isn't. But even if you're completely off the rails, we can learn from that too! It gives Jundo an opportunity to pop in and say "maybe that's not quite right"
    All jokes aside, this is an amazing community, and it grows and thrives as people make posts.
    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    Thank you Nick!!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by nickbo View Post
    It gives Jundo an opportunity to pop in and say "maybe that's not quite right"

    Well, that's not quite right.

    Actually, it is. Thanks for helping me too.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    I was struggling with what to do for my Ango LAH because I really don't have stretches of free time right now that could be used volunteering for an agency or group. Then I remembered that I knit! It's portable and can be done in quick bursts. There's been touching comments about our homeless on this thread and winter is coming, so I'm going to knit up a batch of hats. It would be a privilege to help keep some folks warm this winter.

    Thank you, Treeleaf, for helping me think through different ways of serving others.

    -Kate
    Sitting soon, I promise!
    LAH
    Kate

  16. #16
    Kate,

    I had the same reaction to you with this assignment. I am wary to get involved with an organization right now because of my schedule. I could likely keep up with it for a while but would burn out at some point. So while brainstorming what I could do I noticed a good amount of litter around the outside of my apartment building. Perfect! Community service with no attachment.

    That being said I did research some organizations to keep in my back pocket if/when I feel I have time to adequately dedicate to it.

    James F
    Sat

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    I made my regular blood donation to the Red Cross. I have the rare AB negative so they always ask me to give. The cool thing is they will contact me later to tell me exactly where my blood went. Last one went to Baltimore MD. I just retired so my work clothes are no longer useful to me and gave them all away. I helped out a family member who is struggling financially. For about 30 years I have sponsored children with Child Fund International. It doesn't take much and you build a nice bridge to somebody in need in a far away place. You get to correspond with letters, etc. and see the results in writing. It just takes a little effort here and there to LAH.

    Gassho
    Sat2day
    James

  18. #18
    There's been touching comments about our homeless on this thread and winter is coming, so I'm going to knit up a batch of hats. It would be a privilege to help keep some folks warm this winter.
    Wonderful, Kate! There are a number of us knitters on here and there are sites on the internet that give information on a number of knitting related charities including making for homeless folks, premature babies, blanket squares for refugee camps, rescue animal toys and blankets, hats for cancer patients etc.

    For UK folks: http://knitforlife.co.uk/charities.php, https://www.better-fundraising-ideas...r-charity.html

    US related: https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/art...t-for-charity/, http://www.originallylovely.com/unca...nd-knit-goods/

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  19. #19
    I think that LAH doesn't have to be a grand gesture. There is a charity here that does a lot of good work and their motto is "Hustle Kindness". I try to keep that in the forefront of my mind during Ango. So open a door for someone, smile to people, pay for someone else in the checkout line at the grocery store. Donate a book to the library. Be friendly!

    When I run I have this thing that I wave to everyone I pass. I used to use what I thought was the mudra of compassion but then I learned I was doing it wrong and I just wave now. And it is crazy how many people are caught off guard the first time I do it. But after a while most wave back with a smile on their face. There are a fair number of homeless Navajo in the park where I run and it seems like they are almost surprised when I acknowledge their existence. Now some of those same folks cheer me on when I run by.

    The other thing I did during Ango last year is I really tried to engage with folks when I interacted in situations that are very transactional. There is almost a ritual in how you interact with a store clerk or check out person. In those situations I really tried to interact with them a bit more personally. And it was amazing how often the other person would kind of light up and smile.

    To me those little things add up as well.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    Last edited by Shinshi; 09-14-2018 at 06:19 PM.
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  20. #20
    Last night I went to Qi Gong and Tai Chi class, now my elderly neighbor wants to go. She is new to Winnipeg, doesn't have much in the sense of an agenda. My mother said that I sound better than last week from doing Tai Chi, as she knows I'm highly stressed from job seeking. I am inspired by Shoka's list, as I've been walking the other neighbors dog. Walking a dog makes it very easy to approach people to talk with them or smile at them. This dog is a Husky, which is a very loving breed of dog. They give so much love. I'm making a resolution to spend more time with friends and family, because I tend to avoid others while I'm caught up in work devotion.
    "May I be a flashlight to all beings living in life's dreary and despicable basement" - Sean C.T.

  21. #21
    I did not know about these sites, Kokuu. Thank you! And how wonderful to know that Treeleaf has other knitters. If you ever want to do a project together, just let me know.

    Gassho,
    Kate
    Kate

  22. #22
    Was reading a book about this extreme couponing lady and how her husband doesn't have a job. Not sure if she does either except for maybe like tv and speaking tours. But she managed to donate 100k in goods to the homeless shelter. I'm going to try it out. Maybe if I end up with a bunch of razors and shampoo and toothpaste and cleaning stuff it would help someone out. That's awesome about the taiko class. Wish I was a better drummer.

    Gassho

    Rosui

    st

  23. #23
    For those of us who live in places where cold weather is approaching, I thought I'd share what a friend of mine who works with homeless people in Seattle had to say about their winter time needs. Seattle winters are apparently extra hard for the homeless because while it doesn't get super duper subzero cold, 40 degrees F and raining for 6 to 9 months means it's basically impossible to get dry. According to my friend, what they need most is underwear and socks. She says everybody donates so many hats and gloves and warm coats that they often have more than they need, but they always have a shortage of decent socks and underwear. Few people think to donate those, but it's super important to have a change of dry socks and underwear if you've been out in the freezing cold rain all day.

    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  24. #24
    In fact, what is often better than an individual's personal act is cash given to the right specialized organizations from a view of social efficiency and efficacy.

    So, what is the point of such individual actions as here? Well, it helps to build a sense of generosity in the giver, and shared community and charity in the group which works on these projects.

    Also, as we have discussed, small acts of kindness and charity can have unexpected effects, direct and indirect, that are not always a matter of efficiency.

    However, do not forget to pull out the credit card too.

    An amusing American show on the topic (from about the 12:30 mark) ...



    When we act, be smart, be sincere and be safe.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-17-2018 at 11:15 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    In fact, what is often better than an individual's personal act is cash given to the right specialized organizations from a view of social efficiency and efficacy.

    So, what is the point of such individual actions as here? Well, it helps to build a sense of generosity in the giver, and shared community and charity in the group which works on these projects.

    Also, as we have discussed, small acts of kindness and charity can have unexpected effects, direct and indirect, that are not always a matter of efficiency.

    However, do not forget to pull out the credit card too.

    An amusing American show on the topic (from about the 12:30 mark) ...



    When we act, be smart, be sincere and be safe.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    That's also true. Most charitable organizations need your money more than they need your elbow grease or your old stuff. There's also a lot of rigorous study suggesting that the best way to help the poor and homeless is unconditional direct gifting of money. Example: https://academic.oup.com/qje/article/131/4/1973/2468874
    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  26. #26
    There is an aspect to what we do here of "problems numberless, yet we vow to do what we can" (to paraphrase the Bodhisattva Vow).

    It is not all about economic efficiency alone. The small act, the smile, the little gesture can reverberate in others, and in our own hearts, beyond mere questions of economic efficiency.

    By handing out a blanket or picking up on drop of trash on a road, one may not change the world. But it will change something. Buddhists don't only think in terms of scales of economy. One human being helping one other human being, or meeting one situation, is that person and situation.

    However, no, we are not going to solve the problem of homelessness, pollution, global warming and the like this way. Don't forget to "think big" and support organizations dedicated to all these issues even as we also "think small and local."

    Gassho, J
    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-17-2018 at 08:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    I probably think a bit too much about economic efficiency when I consider LAH, as it's only been very recent that I've had enough "economy" to even think about using it efficiently. But I don't think it should be discouraged either. I've been thinking about this alot since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, my home state. A lot of people really wanted to LAH, and a lot of people packed up and headed to flooded areas to try and help. Most of them were turned back and told "the best way to help is to donate money, food and water. Please stay away; we know you want to help but we already don't have enough food and water, and the last thing we need is more hungry and thirsty people showing up." A lot of my friends and family had a really hard time with that, and more than a few, who had enough money to donate, didn't donate because it felt "too easy" to be effective, as though the only way to LAH involves breaking a sweat.

    Thank you Jundo for the reminder of the many perspectives of LAH. I will endeavour to measure what can be measured, and smile an immeasurable smile.
    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    I did not know about these sites, Kokuu. Thank you! And how wonderful to know that Treeleaf has other knitters. If you ever want to do a project together, just let me know.

    Gassho,
    Kate
    Kate,

    Another knitter here , there are a good amount of us running around.

    A few years ago I knitted for premature babies. Which were great little projects because they are small enough I could finish a set in one sitting. There are also places for baby blankets, but those were a little too big for me to finish quickly.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by nickbo View Post
    I probably think a bit too much about economic efficiency when I consider LAH, as it's only been very recent that I've had enough "economy" to even think about using it efficiently. But I don't think it should be discouraged either. I've been thinking about this alot since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, my home state. A lot of people really wanted to LAH, and a lot of people packed up and headed to flooded areas to try and help. Most of them were turned back and told "the best way to help is to donate money, food and water. Please stay away; we know you want to help but we already don't have enough food and water, and the last thing we need is more hungry and thirsty people showing up." A lot of my friends and family had a really hard time with that, and more than a few, who had enough money to donate, didn't donate because it felt "too easy" to be effective, as though the only way to LAH involves breaking a sweat.

    Thank you Jundo for the reminder of the many perspectives of LAH. I will endeavour to measure what can be measured, and smile an immeasurable smile.
    Gassho
    Nick
    Satlah

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
    Great perspective Nick and Jundo, it's important to find the right way of helping those who need help, rather than satisfying our own needs - listening to the services at the scene and exercising wisdom accordingly .
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/ lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosui View Post
    Was reading a book about this extreme couponing lady and how her husband doesn't have a job. Not sure if she does either except for maybe like tv and speaking tours. But she managed to donate 100k in goods to the homeless shelter. I'm going to try it out. Maybe if I end up with a bunch of razors and shampoo and toothpaste and cleaning stuff it would help someone out. That's awesome about the taiko class. Wish I was a better drummer.

    Gassho

    Rosui

    st
    Rosui,

    I found this idea brilliant. For someone that is tight financially this is a wonderful way to give back. With enough time spent preparing there is a lot you can get basically for free.

    James F
    SAT lah

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  31. #31
    "Be My Eyes"

    I just heard about this amazing app/service this morning on one of my favorite podcasts. Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

    https://www.bemyeyes.com


    No merit. Vast emptiness; nothing holy. I don't know.

  32. #32
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    I did not know about these sites, Kokuu. Thank you! And how wonderful to know that Treeleaf has other knitters. If you ever want to do a project together, just let me know.

    Gassho,
    Kate
    Hi Kate, I'm also a knitter. I only know how to knit scarves though or blankets.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today/lah

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Kate View Post
    I did not know about these sites, Kokuu. Thank you! And how wonderful to know that Treeleaf has other knitters. If you ever want to do a project together, just let me know.

    Gassho,
    Kate
    I'm also a very keen knitter and hooker ( because crocheter never sounds right!). It would be great if we could do a project as a group. Also if anyone one wants to learn to knit - and it's now considered very cool for men to knit, just sayin' - I'm happy to research videos and websites and point you in the right direction.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah

    PS: Can someone please explain to me what couponing is and how it works?
    Last edited by Meitou; 09-18-2018 at 11:12 PM. Reason: couponing!
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  34. #34
    Joyo
    Guest
    I am about to sit, then have a quiet evening knitting. Will be thinking of all my fellow Treeleaf knitters. =)


    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today/lah

  35. #35
    I just posted something on the topic of the "do gooder" getting some satisfaction or pleasure out of doing good. I have no problem with that.

    LAH, Jobs & Callings

    ... This came to mind when I heard the following podcast today from the American public radio, on turning one's job (sometimes even a tedious or unpleasant job) into a "calling" that inspires one, gives satisfaction and pleasure. I'll be darned if a lot of the actions and attitudes recommended by the expert interviewed don't sound a lot like "LAH-ish" acts and attitudes. ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...382#post230382
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    At times, being on the receiving end, seems to be doing good, lah, too.
    Last weekend, the (now locals) refugees, I am helping here and there, threw a summer party at their quarters.
    They invited the neighbours for a barbecue and some Persian/Syrian live music.
    Sadly, not that many visited :-(.
    The few, that came, had a wonderful time, tasting from the warm, giving, welcoming culture, the refugees brought with them.
    They were so incredibly happy, feeding me a fat belly and seeing me stumbling over my own feet, trying a form of Persian line dance with their help.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sattoday/lah.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I just posted something on the topic of the "do gooder" getting some satisfaction or pleasure out of doing good. I have no problem with that.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

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