Shambhala Climate Practice/Action Group Newsletter/blog

With the assistance of Corey Adkins and David Engelbrecht and support of the Director, I started a Shambhala Working Group tasked with the development of a program of practice and social action devoted to addressing the problem of climate change.  In my interview with Abbey as a new volunteer, I was invited to discuss my interests and motivations and inquired about opportunities to engage with Portland Shambhala on matters of social justice.  David with whom I am a participant in the Shambhala Diversity Working Group under Michaela McCormick’s leadership, informed me that he had obtained approval from the council to establish a Shambhala group to address social issues inside and beyond the sangha.  No specific social objectives were determined to be the focus of that group, so when I shared my interest in climate justice, David offered the Shambhala Social Action group as the means of addressing climate change issues from a Buddhist perspective.

Earth justice, environmental awareness and ecological concerns are a natural focus for Buddhists and they have been addressed from within the worldwide sangha for at least two decades.  There are Buddhist publications, books, blogs and organizations devoted to healing the damage done to the environment and preventing further climate disturbance.  Buddhist leaders such as H. H. Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Joanna Macy and the Sakyong have spoken eloquently about the need for Buddhism and all sentient beings to be engaged with healing the suffering of the planet.  In the opening of his book, The Shambhala Prinicple, Sakyong Mipham states:   We humans have come to a crossroads in our history: we can either destroy the world or create a good future. Even climatically, the balance is shifting to dramatically change the face of the earth. Our ecosystem is in a precarious and fragile state, and our future depends on our actions as a species.

The Shambhala Climate Practice/Action Group will offer an opportunity to respond to the Sakyong’s concerns through a dedicated meditation practice and a means of organizing an engagement of Shambhalians with other organizations involved in climate change action.  We are holding a planning meeting at the center November 20 from 1:00 to 3:00 to inform the community and receive recommendations on the design of this program.  You are invited to participate to formulate ideas for the activity and goals of the group.  Regular meetings will begin December 14 at the Center and be held every second Wednesday of the month from 7:15 to 8:45 PM.

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