At the August meeting we discussed a short article by Bernie Glassman about his thoughts on Buddhism and Social Engagement :
To me, social engagement is working with aspects of oneself and society that are underserved (that’s my definition for social engagement). The Buddhist part (for me) means doing that work coming from the standpoint of non-duality and, in doing that work, trying to help people experience the interconnectedness and oneness of life. So that’s the basis, the foundation from which I do the work.
In all of those works, I try to create ways of doing it which would help the people that I’m serving to realize and actualize the interconnectedness of life–the oneness of life. I look at that as being my role as a Zen teacher. Those are some of the vows that I’ve made to myself and out loud, that I would serve all of society and not just those who come into a meditation hall. I’ve changed the venue to be society and the main service is to realize and actualize the interconnectedness of life. The secondary service is to work with those aspects of society and oneself that are underserved.
To these thoughts from Bernie I would like to add the 7 pieces of advice on compassion for others from Rumi :
In generosity and helping others, be like a river. In compassion and grace, be like the sun. In concealing others’ faults, be like the night. In anger and fury, be like the dead. In modesty and humility, be like the earth. In tolerance, be like the sea. Either appear as you are, or be as you look.
The art work is in glass by Erwin Eisch and called "Buddha - I am open" , it is on display at an exhibition of the artist's work at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.