If I were to name a single most significant principle of the practice of the self it would be generosity (dana). The following sites present some of the ways that generosity comes forth as work to benefit the many beings in our world. As the scientists who put together the socio-political statement called the Seville Statement on Violence pointed out, we are not inevitably destined to be violent - this is a result of conditioning, which can be changed. From the Buddhist point of view it is important to remember that social action is useless if we don't transform our minds - the mind is the origin of all happiness, the origin of all sorrow - and realise our Buddha-nature:
"No matter how much violence or how many bad things we have to go through, I believe that the ultimate solution to our conflicts, both internal and external, lies in returning to our basic or underlying human nature, which is gentle and compassionate." Source: The Art of Happiness: a Handbook for Living, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, and has consistently advocated universal responsibility.
In a drive for alternatives to the destructive habits of our past, engagement in social and ecological action is an imperative for many Western Buddhists in the late twentieth century. In his article Envisioning the Future by Robert Aitken Roshi, discusses this. He says: "We can begin our task of developing such alternatives by meeting in informal groups within our larger Sanghas to examine politics and economics from a Buddhist perspective."
This task of bringing forth our innate generosity, this 'lending a hand to Being' (David Michael Levin), is not only confined to the human world, but includes the other beings of the world - the living and non-living species of planet Earth. I've included some sites here that give expression to that love that Being has for itself, in coming forth as biosphere.
The Buddhist Peace
Fellowship is more than 20 years old and and has thousands of members
worldwide. "Our style of open-minded, open-hearted engaged Buddhism, our expanding
programs in Asia and the United States, and our lively, immediate journal, Turning Wheel, serve
as a beacon for Dharma activists committed to transforming the world and themselves".
Lesslie's Engaged Buddhist
Dharma Page Lesslie has been collecting Engaged Buddhist sites for a
while, so she can introduce you to those.
Amnesty International is a worldwide campaigning movement that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards. In particular, Amnesty International campaigns to free all prisoners of conscience; ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners; abolish the death penalty, torture and other cruel treatment of prisoners; end political killings and "disappearances"; and oppose human rights abuses by opposition groups.
Survival International is a worldwide organisation supporting tribal peoples. It stands for their right to decide their own future and helps them protect their lives, lands and human rights.
is an independent and non-political, international organisation, dedicated to the
protection of the environment by peaceful means."
"Known worldwide by its panda logo, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is dedicated to protecting the world's wildlife and wildlands." "WWF directs its conservation efforts toward three global goals: protecting endangered spaces, saving endangered species, and addressing global threats."
Australian Endangered Species: The Biodiversity Group has an Endangered Species Program administered by Environment Australia which "is to prevent further extinctions of Australian fauna and flora, and to restore endangered species and ecological communities to a secure status in the wild."
Of course one species threatened by its own behaviour is homo sapiens. Let's give them a hand: Un 21�me si�cle sans armes nucl�aires.
If you know of especially helpful sites, supporting others in their efforts in protecting the planet and the many beings, please mail suggestions to Chris McLean with EcoSocial Web in the subject line.
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