Compassion is the ability to see what needs doing right now and the willingness to do it right now - Brad Warner, Zen Priest.

It is not enough to espouse compassion, you have to act on it to make it real - Dalai Lama.

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another - Thomas Merton

We all live busy lives. We work at hard jobs often putting in more than 40 hours per week. Then there are all the other tasks that need doing: laundry, shopping, cooking, taking care of our kids or our parents. We unwind by watching a tv show or by surfing the web. Sometimes it seems that if we can live this modern life and just have a bit of happiness, that would be enough. We may be aware of compassion but don’t take time to consciously fit compassionate acts into our lives.

Just this past week I received email from a friend–a Zen priest who was ordained at the same ceremony I was. He said he was quitting his university job in Oregon and moving to Maryland with his wife and kids to live and work in a Catholic Worker intentional community that serves the homeless. That seems like a life focused on helping others. But what about the rest of us who are struggling with living, not in a monastic intentional community, but in modern urban life? Where does compassion and helping others fit in?

I would like to invite you to a discussion on Sunday 15 November at 2pm at Blackstone Coffee, 1113 Jefferson Davis Hwy (look for a ‘Zen’ sign on our table). The topics are 1) how can we be more compassionate in our daily lives and 2) what can we do as a small community to foster compassion. To seed this discussion, I have a few short videos and a few web links.

This first video (surprisingly, an insurance company advertisement) was discovered by Ted Pickett, one of our community members.

This next one is in a similar vein:

This last video is from an organization envisioned by the Dalai Lama called A Force For Good (There is a variety of information on their website and a short explanation at Daniel Goleman on the Dalai Lama’s Vision for Good)

Bernie Glassman (wikipedia article) authored a number of books about engaged buddhism. He offers three tenets:

 Entering the stream of Socially Engaged Spirituality, I vow to live a life of:
 Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe
 Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world
 Doing Action arising from Not Knowing and Bearing Witness

There are some interesting short articles here, including A Day with Bernie Glassman and Bearing Witness- A Harvard Divinity School Talk (this last talk mentions a video about him which I could not find on the web).

If you have other videos or links you think relevant to the discussion please post them to our forum.

I hope to see you at the discussion!