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.
-------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
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?
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