A Challenge to Buddhists

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.

A Challenge to Buddhists

Postby Luke » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:07 pm

Here is an essay by Bhikku Bodhi about why he thinks there are so few Buddhist charitable organizations.

http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2 ... entary.php

I've wrestled with these questions myself. Sometimes I wonder why my sangha doesn't do very much charity work. Personally, I would like to see more Buddhists helping the less fortunate. Even if my lama doesn't think it's so important, I would like to get involved with helping the poor because I think it's the right thing to do.

Where I live in Europe, there are homeless people who go through dumpsters for food and stray dogs that wander the streets.

The suffering of the world is so immense. Small acts of love and generosity are like tiny candles in the darkness.
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Re: A Challenge to Buddhists

Postby sraddha » Sat Jun 06, 2009 4:01 pm

Luke wrote:Here is an essay by Bhikku Bodhi about why he thinks there are so few Buddhist charitable organizations.

http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2 ... entary.php

I've wrestled with these questions myself. Sometimes I wonder why my sangha doesn't do very much charity work. Personally, I would like to see more Buddhists helping the less fortunate. Even if my lama doesn't think it's so important, I would like to get involved with helping the poor because I think it's the right thing to do.

Where I live in Europe, there are homeless people who go through dumpsters for food and stray dogs that wander the streets.

The suffering of the world is so immense. Small acts of love and generosity are like tiny candles in the darkness.


Buddhist Monasticism and charity go hand in hand:

We see this in the Mauryan, where Emperor Ashoka builds rest houses for weary travelers, free hospitals for both people and animals, and wells and helped monasteries become institutions of learning such as Nalanda University and Vikramshila.

During the Tang Dynasty the monasteries fostered artistic creativity, cared for the sick, old, and orphaned, and ran community development projects such as developing roads and building bridges and wells.

Even today, in Southeast Asia, many monasteries serve as free accommodations, retirement homes, and homes for the homeless or chronically ill. Poor families frequently use monasteries as hostels. They serve as village libraries and centers of news and information, and the surplus money is used to make schools.

...as Buddhism spread literate culture into many societies in the process of political unification and organization, it is not surprising that the sangha came to wield political influence, or even political power, in a number of countries.

—Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism
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Buddhism, was the first religion that inspired humanity to do good works and taught meditation to all, however, modern Buddhists hardly have the rigorous faith that the first Buddhists had, which is why there are fewer Buddhist charities today.

If Dharma is the best medicine -- it's something to be shared and spread to all --but without being pushy and obnoxious about it! I sit there and meditate in public! Makes people think :buddha2: . :smile:
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Re: A Challenge to Buddhists

Postby zoltan » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:42 pm

Sitting and meditating in public. Wow! What a way to spread Buddhism. Did anyone ever go up to you and what you are doing? Or start a conversation? I gotta try it. For me it would be a great challenge for putting my ego aside. Of course the environment counts. It's not the same thing sitting in Times Square, or in the middle of the square in a small town where everyone knows you. Maybe we can connect the charity work with meditating in public. Sit, and put up a sign stating that we are collecting money for charity. On one hand it sounds like a good idea but on the other hand people might get negative feelings about Buddhism. What do you think?
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Re: A Challenge to Buddhists

Postby Dana » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:18 pm

Hi Zoltan,
An ingenious idea!
But too many cons out there are there not? Who would believe you?

How about a public challenge to others to participate in a group meditation venture of some sort as the kids do here at the high school for hunger where they hang out and fast together for a while to know what hunger is and raise money thru sponsors as they do so.

Too bad you can't go for a record to break. I think there have been meditators who have done it for many years - a hard act to follow......; :smile:
Perhaps if such a thing was started, a goal could be set for the next year. To sit longer than the previous year.
And how about adding to the concept by making it happen in some unusual location to garner more attention, newsworthiness and of course more money! For your admirable goal.
Post some interesting extreme sounding rules - ie) no speaking :tongue:

I often wish I had money to build housing that is impervious and cleanable and open for use for those who need it to get off the street for however long, no strings/demands attached apart from do no harm.

I used to clean public buildings and found the best result often came when I had a place I could just take a hose to!
The worst was a drunk tank that had been built with a floor in it that sloped away from the floor drain!!!!!!! making the use of a hose impractical at best.

Anyway, a nice thought, nice idea.
Wishing you all success in such endeavours.

D
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Re: A Challenge to Buddhists

Postby hungryghost » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:00 am

zoltan wrote:Sitting and meditating in public. Wow! What a way to spread Buddhism. Did anyone ever go up to you and what you are doing? Or start a conversation? I gotta try it. For me it would be a great challenge for putting my ego aside. Of course the environment counts. It's not the same thing sitting in Times Square, or in the middle of the square in a small town where everyone knows you. Maybe we can connect the charity work with meditating in public. Sit, and put up a sign stating that we are collecting money for charity. On one hand it sounds like a good idea but on the other hand people might get negative feelings about Buddhism. What do you think?


Here in rochester NY the Buddhist peace fellowship sits for 1 hour at noon on the first sunday of every month. They have a permit to protest, as they sit on the lawn of the federal building to protest war in all its forms. I see it as less of a 'protest' and more like "see? this is how you stop war at its root" Its a busy downtown street. I've joined them a few times, in warm weather, and once in a snowfall. Its intense either way, people and cars everywhere. People making comments. Its very challenging practice, and it has its own kind of energy.
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