Welcome to to the Global Service Day blog – sponsored by Treeleaf Sangha and friends across the world!
Global Service Day is an opportunity to contribute a day of service in areas of need in our own communities – it is our hope and plan that this effort not be limited to our Sangha. Buddhist Sanghas of all flavors … and churches and civic organizations of all kinds … are engaged in projects such as this. We are now joining in. Some projects may be primarily done with and among our own Sangha members, some may be in cooperation with other Sanghas, churches and groups. The most important point is that the work should not be done for our benefit (although certainly there is endless merit and personal benefit in generosity and kindness to others), but should be undertaken with an eye toward “where can we truly help” and “how can we be truly effective.”
We sincerely believe that our Practice is found – beginning and end – on our sitting cushions in stillness, yet our Practice continues as we rise up from sitting to be with our families, in our workplaces, towns, communities, society, the whole world. We are to “aid all sentient beings”, and in our view, that includes the most basic needs of food, shelter, comfort and support to those who are sick, hungry, lonely, abused, afraid. There may ultimately be “no sentient beings, and nothing lacking” … but in this world of samsara there are folks who are in dire need of rescue, comfort, material support, education, their next meal, safe and warm shelter, medical care. We can and must help. Generosity and Charity are Buddhist Bodhisattva Virtues, are simple human virtues. Though we can perhaps never solve all the big and little problems of this complicated planet … let alone in our own lives … that too is Shikantaza as we keep trying nonetheless, with sincerity. We may not be able to aid all the numberless beings in need … and we may fail so often … but we can sometimes aid so many.
If folks come to Buddhism simply to help themselves without focusing on helping others, we are convinced that they will succeed in neither. In fact, there is no hard border between “self” and “others”, and your life can be or may someday be just like those others. All Buddhists concur on that Teaching … one that people of most every religion or philosophy hold in common. Someday you may be in need of help, a kind word and the engaged efforts of others. This is our chance.