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Support Buddhist Global Relief’s Walk to Feed the Hungry

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Over the next couple of weeks, there are eight “Walks to Feed the Hungry” happening all around the U.S., organized by the good folks at Buddhist Global Relief (BGR).

These walks were initiated in 2010 by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and BGR as a way to raise both awareness and funds for food-related projects around the world. He writes:

A walk like this offers us, as Buddhists, a chance to express our collective compassion in solidarity with the world’s poor. It’s also a great form of exercise and an opportunity to make new friends. To walk a few miles may not seem like a demanding act, but when we view this event in context we can see that it has far-reaching implications. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that food is a basic human right, which must be fulfilled without discrimination of any kind. Sadly, our world has fallen terribly short of this commitment. Every year governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and wars, yet close to a billion people suffer from hunger and chronic malnutrition and two billion endure serious nutritional deficiencies.

A walks like this is a great source of merit and blessings and a collective expression of conscience on the part of us Buddhists.

While some of the walks have already taken place, there are more happening the rest of October. Here are the locations and dates:

Saturday, October 13
Ann Arbor / Metro Detroit, MI
Chicago IL
New York City, NY
San Francisco CA
Willington CT

Sunday, October 14
San Jose–Mountain View CA

 

Saturday, October 20
LA–Santa Monica CA

 

Thursday, October 25
Escondido CA
You can find out more information on this page – and you can also make a donation there even if you’re not able to join a walk. Help ‘em out — the folks at BGR do great work!

Interview with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

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Today we’re kicking off a monthly series of profiles about socially engaged Buddhists.

I couldn’t be more delighted to feature Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi in this first profile. I first met Bhikkhu Bodhi when he came to the 2007 Buddhist Peace Delegation in Washington, DC. He gave a stirring speech the night before we marched, as he linked the teachings of the Buddha with the imperative to work for peace in the world and to end the war in Iraq.

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Bhikkhu Bodhi Goes to Washington

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Bhikkhu Bodhi at the White House, July 26, 2010

I’m a fan of Bhikkhu Bodhi in real life, and also on his Facebook page. That’s how I heard about this story which he posted on Facebook this past Thursday, July 29. Buddhist Global Relief is the organization that Bhikkhu Bodhi founded in 2008, dedicated to the mission of providing relief to the poor and needy throughout the world regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, or religion.

Buddhist Global Relief at White House Meeting on Interfaith Action Against Poverty

This past month, Buddhist Global Relief (BGR) received a unique honor in being requested to join a task force on interfaith action to alleviate poverty and combat illness around the world. The first meeting of the task force took place at the White House on July 26th. The task force is intended to spearhead the Global Initiative for Faith, Health and Development, an international project guided and organized by the Center for Interfaith Action (CIFA), based in Washington. The Global Initiative was launched in response to President Obama’s call for the world’s religions to collaborate on issues of humanitarian concern. Its objective is to produce a strategic framework for advancing and multiplying inter-religious cooperation on action against global poverty and illness.

The task force brings together the world’s most prominent faith-based relief organizations for the purpose of designing the framework. In appointing the task force, CIFA wanted to broaden the range of the Global Initiative by including delegates from other religions besides the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. After a careful review, they chose BGR as the most suitable Buddhist organization to serve in this role. Though BGR has been in existence for only two years, the organizers were impressed by its significant achievements and the broad reach of its programs during such a short period of activity.

CIFA invited BGR chairperson Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and executive director Kim Behan to participate in the first meeting of the task force, held at the White House on the afternoon of July 26th. The meeting opened with words of welcome and encouragement from Rev. Josh Dubois, head of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama. The conveners of the meeting then gave a broad presentation of CIFA’s plans to increase interfaith collaboration, illustrated by detailed charts and diagrams. This was followed by a lively exchange of views and comments from the members of the task force, with appreciated contributions from Ven. Bodhi and Kim Behan.

In the course of several future meetings, the task force will design a strategy to strengthen the contribution of the religious sector to poverty alleviation and global development. The next meeting will be held on October 4th at the United Nations in New York. This will be followed by a two-day session in November, to be held at the Washington National Cathedral and the White House. At this session, the participants will finalize the design of the strategic framework. The hope is that the framework will create a clear plan of action for different faith communities to work together in addressing the problems of poverty, hunger, and disease.

We at BGR feel privileged to be able to share in this worthy effort. We believe this appointment marks a significant recognition of BGR’s attempts to address the plight of the poor around the world. We hope that by participating actively with other faith-based organizations, we can make a significant difference in the lives of the marginalized sector of humanity.

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