Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/13/2013

Service

Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana

 

Over the years I have increasingly found myself drawn to the idea of helping others by means of the Buddhadhamma in a more formal capacity. Because it is so easy to misconstrue when someone mentions the subject of helping others by means of one’s own religion let me make it clear that evangelizing and proselytism are definitely NOT the activities I have in mind. Rather, I am interested in being of service to those who feel a connection with pan-Buddhist teachings or identify themselves as Buddhists and who find themselves in need of support. Unfortunately, almost all of the programs available that train people to provide spiritual counseling are associated with specifically Mahayana organizations. This, in itself, is not a bad thing but I feel that there are large parts of my practice and faith that would not sit well with certain points of doctrine and praxis (e.g., the prajna-paramita sutras, kido chanting, etc).

 

But, and this is the real point, what is it exactly that I am hoping to gain through this training? Legitimacy? Certainly, there is the desire to feel that I am not simply making things up as I go along but there is also the fear of harming someone without the oversight and training that an ecclesiastical order would (hopefully) provide. The NYC Zen Center for Contemplative Care is an excellent example of an organization that is providing first-class education  and oversight but I have long avoided them simply due to the costs.

 

Regardless of the costs I find myself coming back to the idea of integrating the values of metta and karuna into my life in a real and active way with ever-increasing frequency. Hitherto I have used my lack of time as an excuse not to pursue these ideas any further but perhaps it’s time I once more take up volunteering as a part of my Dhamma practice. Until then all of these ideas will remain just that: pretty ideas with no substance. May may words and aspirations not be like a beautiful flowers, full of color but without fragrance.

 

 

 

 


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