Being socially ENGAGED is a matter of doing something that has a positive impact on human flourishing. Our root teacher taught that human flourishing (happiness, health and harmony) is promoted when we participate in altruistic acts while maintaining a deep awareness of our intent and our interconnectedness with all things. For most of us that means being altruistic with our time, skills, and generous with our resources when we are able. We can be socially engaged in many ways, not all requiring us to leave our homes. The marvelous technology we have access to allows us more opportunities than ever before to be interconnected on a broader scale through social networking, blogging, Skype and much more.
The DHARMA isn’t just about the teachings of Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha. Shocking for some, but the Buddha understood and taught that dharma, as it is revealed to us in each moment (that’s impermanence at work), reflects the cultural and scientific realities of our time. Both his teachings about this reality and reality itself is dharma. Our common goal is to provide teachings and methods that are important for human flourishing. This may begin with studying Buddhist philosophy, but should naturally branch out to science, medicine, history, language, art, philosophy, social justice, etc.
We develop personal INSIGHT through a commitment to a meditation practice. Mindfulness (awareness) mediation techniques develop a realization of our own dispositions, negative, positive or neutral. Then, once recognized we act to first mitigate and then rid ourselves of the negative, act to accentuate the positive, and act to determine the “why” of the neutral.
INSIGHT is also an awareness that we use when we engage our planet and the sentient beings on it. We look deeply to see issues as they ARE, not how we may WANT them to be. We should be rigorously honest about HOW we can become involved with the resources and skills we have. We take appropriate actions base on insight and social consensus.
EDIG is a non-denominational international Buddhist practice community. Like some Buddhist traditions we consider the word sangha not exclusive to the monastic community. For us, our community is like-minded, and open-minded individuals that get together to practice with, and learn from each other no matter the language or cultural differences. We are a GROUP that practices pluralism in our thoughts, words and our actions. While EDIG’s lineage is both Ch’an and Soto Zen, and thus Mahayana, our platform of practice is uniquely a contemporary/traditionalist Buddhism.
David Sensei and I extend an invitation for you to join with EDIG regardless of other affiliations. It isn’t our school, faith or history that is important. It is our goal and desire to be positively engaged with ourselves and our communities that offers the opportunity to grow in our practice.
In Buddhism, responsibility means responsiveness. Responsiveness is responsibility. To respond fully to every situation that comes our way, from a call for help of one kind or another to just talking with friends, and to give selflessly to the situation, this is responsibility. It is social-engaged Buddhism. A developed caring and compassionate individual influences others unselfconsciously, motivates them, and inspires them to act in similar ways. Our whole world community benefits. In Buddhism, compassion and wisdom are the qualities that develop out of our practice. It is the source for human flourishing. This is what it means to be a social-self, and to live the life of action-in-the-world. Social action itself is a kind of meditation and can be a great motivation of compassion and equanimity. The object of gaining an insight into our connected and interdependent nature is really to qualify ourselves for greater engagement in the world around us.
The mission of the Engaged Dharma Insight Group is to help others experience the Dharma and it’s teachings in order to be effective engaged Buddhists and agents for change in the modern and expanding world. We are an international teaching organization that values the lessons discovered when we engage Buddhism pragmatically to foster wisdom and compassion in the common language of understanding. We practice pluralism and honor the path to learning that the Buddha embraced as skillful means. Our approach is to combine guided instruction with engaged action to teach the lessons gained in a real-time experience accessible to Buddhists from around the globe. We will provide support during this process of practice development so useful and productive methods can be learned and deployed by individual and groups alike to be effective partners for social change within their own communities. Together we can make a difference.
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