World events are unfolding in ways that portend both increased suffering and also the potential for dramatic transfomation. For many Dharma practitioners, this has aroused a strong and growing interest in spiritual activism--in bringing the teachings and practices of mindfulness and compassion to bear on the challenges facing people around the globe.
On Friday, December 9, (7:30 - 9:30 pm) at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington, DC (3401 Nebraska Ave, NW--directions), we will be meeting to explore ways in which we can act together to create a more compassionate community and world. We hope you will join us.
One exciting initiative being launched in the Washington area is a campaign to make Washington, DC, a 'compassionate city.' The global Compassionate Cities campaign comes out of the Charter for Compassion developed by Karen Armstrong and other spiritual leaders. It seeks to restore compassion to the center of morality and religion and make compassion a 'clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.'
For Dharma practitioners committed to cultivating peace, compassion and love in our own hearts and in the world, the "Compassionate Washington DC" campaign provides a potentially important vehicle for developing and coalescing our efforts in practical ways.
Active initiatives underway and others that could be developed as part of our Buddhist contribution to a Compassionate Washington DC campaign are:
- Efforts to teach mindfulness and compassion in schools in our area (currently happening through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, iBme)
- Mindfulness classes in local correctional institutions (already underway through IMCW's Insight on the Inside program)
- Training in meditation and mindfulness for returning veterans
- Bringing mindfulness activities to the Occupy events through regular meditation programs (already underway through the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and others)
- Efforts to develop and influence local and national actions and policies to express our love for the earth and address climate change
- Responding to the needs of the poorest of the poor worldwide, e.g. through efforts such as Buddhist Global Relief, founded by Bhikkhu Bodhi
- Other possibilities....
We hope you will join us on December 9 to plan and promote activities to bring mindfulness and compassion more actively and consciously into our community and world.
Please let us know by responding directly to this message, (email@example.com) if you plan to come to the meeting on December 9. We will then send more information. Once you RSVP, we will send you a set of four questions for reflection and focus in preparation for our discussion. If you would like to be part of this effort but cannot attend on the 9th, note that in your reply to receive the questions.
We look forward to hearing from you and working together to bring the wisdom and compassion of Dharma teachings and practices more fully into the world.
Hugh Byrne & the Compassionate Washington DC Dharma Team