Meditation for those in need

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Meditation for those in need

Postby F.Andersson » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:25 pm

Namaste my Dharma brothers and sisters!

A few days ago I re-read a Buddhist magazine that focused its issue on Buddhism and social work. As we all know compassion is one of the key concepts in Buddhism, both because it helps other and it helps ourselves.

A seed of a thought was planted in my mind as I read the article, a thought that has been growing ever since. I wish to start a small non-profit association that sends aid to those in need, mostly focusing on education and medical help.

How will we go about raising money you ask? To answer this question I wish to go back to early Buddhist traditions, asking for alms on the streets. Many of our eastern brothers and sisters of the Dharma are familiar with this already but since we in the west find no need to do this it is a tradition that we have lost. I think this is a shame since this can help us develop compassion and humility. However, instead of taking the donated money for ourselves or our temple we will send the money we need to those in need.

I do not wish to approach people on the streets however. If a act of compassion is to be done it must come from people voluntarily, not by force or pressure. I will sit down quietly on my meditation rug with a bowl in front of me and a sign beside it with a sign saying 'Change does make a change'. Under this banner I hope that my organization will take compassion to the streets.

My question is now this; Does anyone wish to join me in creating this non-profit association or have any thoughts on this endeavour?
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby Fede » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:48 pm

There are already plenty of non-profit charitable organisations focussing on different aspects of social need and care. For example, you could donate to a childrens' charity, one for the homeless and mentally ill, or even those seeking to rescue, shelter and re-home stray, abandoned and mistreated animals.
The Samaritans (a help organisation for those despairing or contemplating suicide) is also a worthy cause.

Why not volunteer for one of these?

I hope you find what you seek.

namaste :namaste:
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby F.Andersson » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:54 pm

Thank you for your kind words, my friend. And indeed, there are many organizations out there doing allot of good in the name of compassion. And these are the ones that I wish to pass on the donations to. However, it is my understanding that it will be most beneficial for both me and others to do it the traditional way, by meditating by the wayside and on the squares receiving alms. By following this path we will generate awareness, training and donations to those in need as well, the three pillars we will build this informal organization on. However, I can not do it alone and that is why I reach out my hand to fellow practitioners of the Dharma all over the world. I hope that some will answer my plea.

Take care!
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby imagemarie » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:09 pm

http://buddhistglobalrelief.org/active/contactUs.php

This seems to be just what you're looking for?

:anjali:
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:00 pm

Greetings F.Andersson and welcome to Dhamma Wheel.
The practice of dana should be done with the spirit of selflessness. While I applaud your desire to help others, I suggest that you think a bit more deeply about how best you can help. Perhaps it is making a monthly pledge to donate a fraction of your income or perhaps you can serve others by getting involved in the charity of your choice. What many charities need is money and volunteers who are willing to do the hard, often thankless work, of helping to deliver services to their clients.
Public displays of one's affiliation as a Buddhist or how compassionate one is often leaves me wondering what the person's real intentions are - especially when money is involved.

For an example of what one person can achieve I suggest you click onto the Compassionate Hands Foundation link in my signature. If you are interested in supporting any charity, Compassionate Hands Foundation is a very worthy beneficiary - as is Buddhist Global Relief and the Samaritans.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby F.Andersson » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:31 am

Thank you for your kind welcome, Ben. I must say that I have gotten more replies delivered faster on this forum than on any forum I have visited so far. I am most humbled by this.

When it comes to dana I agree with you that it must be done in the spirit of selflessness. That is why I wish to remain seated while receiving donations instead of chasing after people like many other organisations do. And as you say, what many charities need is monetary contributions. That is what I wish to provide. A public display as you call it would possible bring awareness to people. I do however not see it as a way of showing how compassionate one, quite the opposite. I believe that receiving alms could be a humbling and awakening experience that could help in our practise, especially for us in the western world. Your concern is however understandable as some might use it as a display of ones good deeds or something similar to that. But this is the dangers with all forms of generosities.

I have taken a brief look at the website of the Compassionate Hands Foundation and I must say that it seems like they are doing a great service to those in need. If, or rather when I get this organisation going our donations may very well come their way.

Thank you!
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:00 am

F.Andersson,
Tell us of your vision as to how this would be organized? I would volulnteer to collect the money and deliver it to a charity.
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby F.Andersson » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:35 am

As you wish, I shall break down the concept into its most basic form and present it, a form of verbal flow chart if you will. I hope that this will bring some clarity into the matter and show our intentions with this group. In order to illustrate this the person who meditates will be referred to as practitioner and the organization as DharmaAid.

The practitioner will take compassion to the streets as we call it by meditating in public with a bowl in front of him or her and a sign next to it saying something in the style of Change can make a change - Donate to [insert name of pre-agreed upon cause] now. The practitioner has to make sure that he or she is not doing this in a area where many others are currently asking for alms, we do not wish to compete or take market shares from anyone. The practitioner will meditate for a set amount of time and every time a donation is made he or she will greet the donater with a seated bow, hands held together. Next to the practitioner may a second mat be present where people can try out meditation for themselves.

The donations will then be submitted by the practitioner either to the pre-agreed upon cause or to DharmaAid who will submit it for him or her. Either way the practitioner must report the amount of donations to DharmaAid for register. The cause that the donations will go to will be determined by vote among the organizations active and support members each six months. Active members are those who meditate in the streets and support members are those who support the organisation either financially or non-financially.

By doing all of this we believe that we can foster both awareness of the current status of humanity to the public and meditative training for the practitioner while we also help those in need. The three pillars, awareness, training and compassion will by our guides on this quest. Public meditation and asking for alms is a part of Buddhist tradition but it has been lost in the West. This is a shame according to me since I believe it has many gifts to offer.

I hope this shall bring some clarity. If not then feel free to ask questions.

Take care!
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby chownah » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:57 am

Sounds good to me....I'll volunteer to collect the money and then give it to a charity...
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Re: Meditation for those in need

Postby F.Andersson » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:10 am

Great, I am sure you will make a find contribution to this group. In short our website and forum will be up and running, I shall contact you when this is done.

Take care!
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