Should Buddhists develop community support?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: Should Buddhists develop community support?

Post by jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:56 am

churches have used helping people get jobs as a selling point for their religion for a long time now, it's kinda a cheap tactic. one of my wife's friends (who is from isan and grew up uneducated and poor on a rice farm) was helped by a woman and got a pretty good job and this was tauted as being "I'm doing this because I'm christian and if you get this job it's because of Jesus" and so the friend starts to think "hey maybe Jesus did help me" . its sad.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Should Buddhists develop community support?

Post by pilgrim » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:26 am

If you can't win converts thru the value of your teachings, using cheap tactics, unfortunately, becomes a very attractive option. It is also effective as people in need will respond to the perceived kindness of those who meet their immediate needs much more than any profound philosophical teachings. The muslims have their ummah, the christians, the body of their church. For Buddhists, unity and cooperation in the lay-sangha, I'm sad to say, leaves many of us cold. I'm just wondering if we can develop more of this side of things, not so much as a means to win converts, but as a practice of compassion and dana.

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Re: Should Buddhists develop community support?

Post by Vepacitta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:15 pm

Pilgrim: Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi has spoken on this issue - "engaged buddhism". He has founded Buddhist Global Relief to address relief and justice issues. If you do an I-Net search - you can find much material (from his point of view) on this subject. You might also look at the site - Ecological Buddhism.

I think there should be outreach. The temple near my home does prison outreach, for example, but I know that they are seeking to be more in touch with the local community. (Although they do join the Franciscans for the blessing of the animals each year - awww! - I'm not snarking by the way).

One doesn't have to "do" outreach or be involved in the community to 'gather converts' - one does it to connect, to help people - to alleviate suffering. Yeh, I know (the Asura said to the devas) the the thrust of Buddhism is to cool down - to nibbana'ise' - by knowing and understanding suffering, it's causes, it's origination, etc. but personally, I don't think that the personal practise has to negate - shall we say - practise towards others? There are plenty of suttas connected with the blessings of giving - no - sorry - can't site verse and chaptre - but I'm sure someone else here can :anjali:

Even if there's "no one there" - there's still quite a bit of dukkha (with all its variegated meanings) in this world - and anything one can do to help alleviate it is a good thing -

So, (after all of that) a ringing, affirmative "yes" - I think Buddhists should develop community support!

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Re: Should Buddhists develop community support?

Post by Terasi » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:48 am

Is there any going on in Sydney?
I'd love to go like, volunteering work, a choir group (chanting and choir, I mean!), or just sit at a cafe swapping thoughts.
We can collect waste from restaurants for homeless ppl, or do some hospital visit, or organised blood donor, etc. Doing activities may build a community.

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