New year's Eve Shrine

Notes from an Appealing Buddhist

On Fri, 5 July, 2013 - 15:18
Shakyapada's picture
Life on a Karuna door-knocking appeal

Previously (a week ago) on the Green Tara Appeal:
Our actual target for the whole appeal is £1791 and with just 6 evenings to go we are still £739 short. So, between us, we need to find around £123 each evening in monthly donations. A big ask when we’ve averaged around £64 in the last four evenings. It’s a daunting task and the Green Tara Team really have their work cut out over the remaining days and evenings….

Day 41: Living on the Wild Frontier

It’s our last full day of the appeal, at the end of week six - the culmination of four evenings that can only be described as gobsmackingly amazing. There is no doubt that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have been with us (one of them in particular has joined us in a very literal sense).

Our week began with two powerful invocations: to Amoghasiddi, the Buddha of unobstructed success, and to Ratnasambhava, the Buddha of supreme generosity and abundance who holds the wish-fulfilling jewel in his left hand. Then just before our departure on Monday evening we chanted the Tara mantra as usual. So, armed with all the riches of our spiritual practice, and Amalavajra’s exhortation to take risks and challenge the views that obstruct generosity, we went forth onto our territories.

And something magical and beautiful happened. Something that simply can’t be rationalised. Something so extraordinary that it had to be far more than the sum of our joint efforts.. On Monday evening we returned with direct debits to the value of £209, easily our best day ever. On Tuesday evening we brought home £243 and on Wednesday we smashed through the appeal target with another extraordinary evening that raised £201 in direct debits. Thursday evening consolidated this unobstructed success with another £130. This means that, with one evening on the doors still to go, we have reached an incredible total of £1958.93 against a target of £1791.

It’s been an exciting ride this week. Literally for Jamie and Sanghamani who took to toy scooters to speed their way around their spread-out areas. And for Dantacitta, who brought home a beautiful metal figure of Tara, generously bestowed by a complete stranger. For Amitasuri too, whose chance conversation with a stranger on the tube, resulted in him making a special trip to the LBC to leave a completed direct debit form.

There have been many magical encounters for all of us, but for me, my abiding memory of the week is the connection forged through openness and love with so many people in my area. On several occasions I’ve had a sense of stepping out of myself and challenging views about not giving and encouraging people to reconsider their idea that they are already giving enough. And far from creating any kind of bad feeling, this actually seems to have helped to make an even greater - and more authentic - connection. I know that other members of the team have been similarly bold and open. We are no longer the “nice” Buddhists who knocked on doors in week one. We are something much more. Something much more real.

And the truly wonderful thing is that, each time I’ve left a new donors’ houses there seems to have been a tangible and painful sense, on both sides, of a connection between us being broken. A kind of awkwardness that filled each parting space like a small but precious sense of loss between us. I have really valued those partings because they speak of so much.

So as we prepare to head out on the last evening, there is a real sense that we have achieved someting very special during these six intensive weeks.We are celebrating changes in ourselves brought about by some of the most intensive Dharma practice most of us have ever encountered. We are celebrating our own beautiful Green Tara community and the lovely people who have helped us along this path. We are rejoicing in the people we have met at the doors and in the amount of money we have raised. But most of all, we are, I think, most mindful of the perhaps hundreds of people in India, for whom our success means the end to a life of hardship and degradation, and the dawning of joy and light in their lives.

There will be one final update tonight on this page to let you know the final score - and then the Truly Magnificent Seven is going to party! Then, tomorrow, we will all go our separate ways. There will be tears. But, for now, there is real joy.

1.44 am. It’s all over and the Green Tara Team has ended the appeal with yet another record night. Everyone scored tonight with a record £312 of direct debits which brings the grand total to £2271.68 per month. That’s 127 % of target, worth £136,300 over the next five years (the average life of a direct debit).This has been one of Karuna’s most successful appeals of the last few years, we are told. So sadhu! to The Magnificent Seven!

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