Triratna Buddhists take part in UK Buddhist Action Month
On Fri, 13 September, 2013 - 00:29
Triratna Buddhists took part in the UK’s Buddhist Action Month (BAM) in July this year. Linked to the festival of Dharma Day, BAM is sponsored by the Network of Buddhist OrganisationsUK (NBO).
July 2012 saw the UK’s first Buddhist Action Day (BAD), with the environmental theme Earthkind. It was such a success, the NBO decided to make it last a whole month this year and repeat the theme. Since Manchester Triratna Buddhists were noticeably the most active last year, the NBO appointed Manchester mitras Claire Morris and Bec Frost to co-ordinate the 2013 event nationwide.
Manchester mitra Si Haves organised an urban “seedbombing” day, and Cambridge Order member Yogratna organised a meditation ‘flashmob’ in the city’s market square, contrasting shopping with the contentment of meditation; the effect of consumerism on the environment. (A flashmob is a large group of people meeting in a crowded public place for a co-ordinated, unexpected, inspiring activity, such as a dance or performance of the Hallelujah Chorus. Where the activity is meditation, such a gathering may also be known as a ‘medmob’.)
Si writes: “I didn’t want to talk about climate change, pollution, species extinction or any kind of eco-doom. I wanted to create a positive event that helped people to feel empowered to make changes in their lives. Seedbombing is a great way of connecting with your environment and adding a little greenery, life and colour to places. The bombs can be thrown onto landfill sites, areas fenced off by developers or any neglected green space, even something as small as a piece of grass around a street lamp. They don’t need to be watered, but luckily lack of rainfall isn’t something we need to worry about here in Manchester!
We started with Metta Bhavana practice, with an emphasis on interconnectedness and our relationship with nature. Then we worked together making seedbombs, using clay, native plant seeds and compost. Thus armed, we explored areas around our Buddhist Centre looking for good places to throw them. Some passers-by enjoying the sunshine were interested in what we were doing and took some themselves.
It was a simple way for us to connect with each other and with our urban environment and to start seeing the connections. Hopefully the workshop was a step towards seeing ourselves as not separate but a key active part of this whole, wonderful amazing and self organising universe.”
Mitra Claire Morris took on the national organising this year, with Bec Frost, having organised a canalside clear up in Manchester as part of BAM 2012. “I wanted to promote Engaged Buddhism to a national audience this year because I believe it is important that being a Buddhist is not about seeming to be doing the right thing; it’s about actually doing the right thing! I thoroughly enjoyed working with Bec and the NBO team pulling together a strategy to market and implement the project. My only disappointment is how few people told us about their BAM events. This means we can’t say for sure how many activities happened, but the events we do know about were fantastic and I feel proud to have been part of such an inspiring initiative.”
Other activities included a volunteer day at London’s Islington Ecology Centre, for Buddhists from traditions including the Amida Trust, and Bodhi Tree Brighton’s permaculture day.