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Buddhadharma : Winter 2008
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 08 80 ➤ continued from page 51 iriS BriLLiant: If you have more workshops directly focused on how the dharma can help you do more effective social action, that will draw a younger and more diverse crowd and help to demonstrate a broader focus. Sumi Loundon Kim: This broader focus includes redefining the very idea of a dharma teacher. There are a lot of young people thinking about roles not just as dharma teachers in the tradi- tional way, but as chaplains in hospices and hospitals, even in the military. Dharma practice may be married with quite a range of professions, roles, and causes. We’re in a pioneering phase. It’s a little daunting, but we are stumbling toward a path. rod meade Sperry: In general, we need a way to keep in touch with each other, to learn and support. We could have a maga- zine or site, or part of a site or magazine, maybe called Sangha. It would be similar to Mahasangha News, but it would focus on organizing groups, running things, doing outreach, and finding support. It’s also for people who see something miss- ing from their place of practice and want to be catalysts for change. There’s so much to learn from people’s trials, failures, and successes. iriS BriLLiant: That’s a fabulous idea. Sumi Loundon Kim: About five years ago, I connected with a group called the Student Buddhist Network. It was made up of dharma groups in universities across the country that com- municated with each other about how to run a sitting group, get funding, accommodate diverse views, cater to beginners as well as to more experienced practitioners, and so forth. We could use a model like that on a larger scale. It sounds awfully dry, but we could have a conference just focused on dharma organizing and administration. rod meade Sperry: That wouldn’t be dry. That would be a boon to next-gen Buddhism. iriS BriLLiant: As Rod was saying earlier, we can make use of the web as an organizing tool. I’m starting a sitting group that will gather at the co-op where I live in Ann Arbor. I have a handful of friends interested in creating a consistent medita- tion practice, but I’m probably going to find the bulk of the people online, through Craigslist and Facebook. Altogether, I’d encourage leaders in the sangha to con- stantly involve young people in their decision-making prac- tices, to foster relationships with more young people. Make younger friends and ask them questions. norman FiScher: I’m just listening and learning. [Laughter] santa fe, new mexico 505-986-8518 www.upaya.org upaya @ upaya.org For the discovery of innate wisdom and compassion upaya zen center buddhist chaplaincy training being with dying professional training weekly programs and retreats daily meditation & weekly dharma talks free and open to the public