#EthicalChristmas: Money, Ethics, and Dharma Practice - A New Campaign on The Buddhist Centre Online
On Wed, 8 October, 2014 - 17:00
A couple of months ago I was sitting in a room at Adhisthana, listening to my friend Mokshini speak very movingly about some quite profound shifts in her own sense of Dharma practice. She talked about having newly considered in her own life the sorts of issues raised by Triratna’s participation in Buddhist Action Month every year: environmental concerns, economic questions, all manner of socially engaged topics relevant to anyone looking to explore the Buddha’s teaching and live by it.
Mokshini described her own strong sense of realization that one of the key areas in which she could affect at least a small change in the world had to do with how she spent her money. On food, on necessities, on clothes, on travel, on gifts. It sounds obvious, perhaps, but I was impressed at the dedication Mokshini clearly exemplified in more deeply considering the effects of her purchasing habits, especially their consequences for other people involved in making, distributing, and providing the things she buys… It had a strong encouraging effect on me - and I felt determined to be more thorough around my own awareness of the issues and in my efforts to put one of the central teachings of the Buddha into practice in my life when it comes to how I spend my money:
Not to do harm / To practise open-handed generosity
A couple of weeks after I heard Mokshini speak, I visited one of the longest-standing and most impressive Buddhist Right Livelihood businesses that we have in the Triratna community: Windhorse:Evolution. We talked about their own work in this area and soon a campaign was hatched to encourage ethical buying and giving across our community: #EthicalChristmas
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Running through the upcoming holiday period our campaign here, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Tumblr, and across social media aims to raise awareness of the opportunities to bring a more ethical perspective to our gift giving this year – even at a time when many people’s finances are squeezed and it can seem hard to put our best intentions into practice. Triratna has many thousands of friends worldwide, and together our collective small efforts can add up to something much bigger!
In this campaign we’ll focus on various great ethical buying and giving opportunities and promote them over the next few months. But we’re proud to welcome and support Windhorse:Evolution first as one our main partners. Like them we really want to encourage people to follow through on this aspect of Buddhist practice and engage with the benefits of ethical shopping choices - for themselves and for others.
Windhorse:Evolution has made a very significant contribution to the Triratna Buddhist Community since it started in 1980. Over the years it has given over £5 million to Triratna projects including many Centres and, most recently, contributed to the purchase of Adhisthana. It has also been a firm long-term supporter of our online activites via Free Buddhist Audio and The Buddhist Centre Online. And in its amazing Fair Trade work it has provided many with the opportunity to live and work sustainably together, in different parts of the world and in the UK.
Like Windhorse:Evolution, we believe passionately that an alternative to corporate business is essential, and it is in the spirit of the founding ideals of Triratna as a new way of engaging with society that we are now launching this joint campaign. Look for the #EthicalChristmas hashtag and ways in which you can affordably and easily make this holiday season a more ethical one for you, your friends, and your family.