It’s tricky – we want our spiritual communities to be places of refuge from the over-stimulation and conflict in the world outside our temple walls. No one wants to come to practice at the Zen center only to participate in a political debate, or be told what they should be doing as a good Buddhist.
And yet… if we don’t challenge our comfort levels as a Buddhist community in order to witness and respond to the often acute suffering in the world around us, especially of those much less privileged than we are, are we fulfilling our bodhisattva vows? Are we missing an opportunity to test and deepen our practice?
Bright Way Zen’s new Sangha Stewardship Committee is thinking about how our Sangha might get involved in addressing the suffering in our community – some communal cause or project we could take on together, and explore compassionate response as Buddhists, together. If you have any thoughts on this, please speak to Domyo or Myoju (directly, or through email, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here’s a very thoughtful, short, balanced article on this topic by a Soto Zen priest who leads a Sangha in New York:
BY ROSHI PAT ENKYO O’HARA | NOVEMBER 10, 2014 – Lion’s Roar Magazine