BAM in WinterOn Wed, 27 June, 2018 - 09:23
Adelaide Sangha has been focusing on themes emphasised by George Monbiot in ‘Out of the wreckage’, such as knowing your values. We have shared actions that most of us already practice that take account of the wellbeing of other beings. For example, we looked at minimising plastic packaging, going 100% vegan, providing resources for refugee families and rewilding (or revegetating/replanting) land that has been given over to grazing. Returning native flora enables vulnerable fauna to be maintained or re-introduced and this is one way of responding with creative loving-kindness to our continent. This also enables us to regain and retain an aspect of our commons. We have encouraged deeper consideration of the values that underlie these actions – raising these to a conscious level rather than settling into habituation or complacent familiarity. In this way we can extend the actions we are taking by truly valuing our values.
This week we will review the values that underlie our actions and see how they may help us to broaden and deepen our compassionate action in all our interactions. This will be based on the relationship of compassion and ‘emptiness’ or selflessness, as an answer to the feeling of overwhelm that many discussed experiencing. ‘Compassion is the activity of emptiness, the expression of selflessness. The more we understand the selfless nature, the more compassionate we are. The more compassion we have, the less self-reference there is, so we understand the empty nature better. Then Dharma practice really begins to feel integrated. We can practice this compassionate emptiness’ (Joseph Goldstein 2009). From this basis we also build opportunities for creating a new story or adding to a burgeoning one, that connects to our deeper nature and to nature itself.
Amidst all of this, our sangha noted that BAM is held around the mid-summer solstice in Europe, and mid-winter in the southern hemisphere. Mid-winter is often experienced as a time for reflection and taking stock which for us makes it more of a ‘Buddhist Reflection Month’ than an ‘Action Month’ in these short, cold days. All of this we can take as refreshed actions into spring.