The “Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate” by Brad Warner book contest has come to an end. While there were some great answers, I only have two copies (although I wish I had enough to send all that commented).
The winners are Jamie G and Tony Miller (whose comments from the contest are also posted below). If you could both e-mail your mailing addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org I will get your copies out ASAP.
I will be doing another contest really soon to folks, more on that soon. Trying to come up with something different this time in order to win, maybe something a bit more “engaged”. Anyone have videocameras??
1. I try to find ways to help others using what I have found by looking in. I’m currently explaining mindfulness meditation to a friend that really need to relax her mind and herself. I won’t call it “mindfulness meditation” though because she has made it very clear she isn’t looking for a religious experience. She just “Wants to know how to let go and relax.
2. I’m more of a hybrid really. When I see buddhist/zen items on desks of co-workers or hear questions that I can answer with things I have learned from my own study I step in. I don’t search for people or places to share with 24/7. I just take the opportunities when they appear. A programer was hired recently and on his first day he put a little green Buddha on his desk but it was kind of tucked behind the phone. I saw this as I was working on his computer and said “You know, Sid would probably like the view better from under your monitor. He could see you, you could see him and the phone wouldn’t be in his way. I can introduce you to some other Buddhists in the company if you would like.”
3. The view of the Gulf of Mexico is great from the beach, but until you step off the sand and into the water you will never feel it’s power. Find the view – step into the view. Simple.
4. We did bring about change. Obama won. Ok, a real answer. An old zen teaching shows that life is like a river, it’s in a constant state of change. How can we collectively help? Look for the changes in your life. Don’t fight them but find a way to flow with them. Once you learn to see the changes and how to handle them you will find yourself spotting other people struggling with change and you will be able to help them. See a friend or co-worker that obviously needs somebody to talk to but can’t find anybody. Volunteer something that has just gone all kinds of wrong for you recently. Even if you’ve gotten through it already leave them room to offer some advice. You can slowly get them to relax and open up about their problems. Share your change, help with their’s. The world will be a little brighter.
Here’s one for you: Do you ever do something silly or stupid just to make somebody smile? If not, try it.
Answering your first question, I think it’s both, inward and outward. In fact, I dare say, it would be impossible to have inward changes and not show them outwardly.
Answering your second question, I find that my practice of not only meditation, but development of all three training (virtue, meditation, wisdom) helps me throughout my day, especially when relating to others, and things that use to push my buttons no longer do it.
Answering your third question, I absolutely believe in engaged Buddhism. Since we are all connected and there isn’t any independent self, we can’t but help but be engaged. Anything I do will no doubt effect others, which, I think, causes a cascade effect (Butterfly effect). It’s the illusion of self that would cause someone to think that what they do doesn’t effect others. My simple daily sittings may cause me to react different to someone I encounter, so my practice is in a sense everyone’s practice.
Answering your fourth question, I think the very act of practice, however slight, will make a positive impact, but it is good to be involved in some manner. I don’t mean that we have to all join the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, though it may be a good idea, but if joining some Buddhist group to help bring a positive light to the Dharma for the world to see is a good thing.