Mountains and Waters Alliance to Sakyadhita Conference

For: Mountains and Waters Alliance
Faribault, MN
Organizer: Shodo Spring
Mountains and Waters Alliance to Sakyadhita Conference (Mountains and Waters Alliance)
$920
of $2,000 goal.
Raised by 15 donors
46% Complete

The Story

Mountains and Waters Alliance exists to work with forces of nature to protect and restore the wholeness of life, healing the mind of separation. Connecting with other people is part of that work.

We have the opportunity to present a workshop titled “Asking all beings for help with climate change” at the biennial gathering of “Daughters of the Buddha”, an international organization of Buddhist women.

Buddhist women from the world, especially Asia and including women from traditional villages, attend and teach at this conference. This creates an unparalleled opportunity in the ongoing work of breaking down the walls of my own cultural prison. While I go to offer a teaching and to seek companions in this work, the important matter is the learning and opening.

The conference is in Hong Kong. I avoid travel to minimize fossil fuel use, but have decided in favor of going.

The $2000 requested will cover fees, housing, and travel. Any surplus will help with miscellaneous costs and donations.

For more information about Sakyadhita, visit the website http://www.sakyadhita.org/. The film clip is from last year's conference. And my first update below says more about them, from my friend Beth who lives in Cambodia and has been to many of their conferences.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on June 23, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on June 23, 2017

I’m at the Sakyadhita Conference, and just checking in after the first two days.

We began the conference with a series of sacred chants, from nuns in different traditions. It was beautiful. I would like to send more photos, but I'll post them on the blog; this one is from Theravadin nuns of India, Burma, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Then we had brief welcome speeches, a ceremony of lighting the altar.

Most of the conference will consist of panels of speakers, on a variety of topics related to Buddhism and to women.The first day panels were mostly stories of Buddhist women across cultures, and specifically in Hong Kong where we are meeting. The second day was "Mindfulness across cultures" and "Building healthy families and communities." Tomorrow will be sessions on Social Action and on Buddhist Education. Nearly everyone is speaking in English, though it's a second language for most of them.

My roommate, a scholar, gave a talk yesterday. She was researching feminism in monastics in the area where she does research. After a nun said “I’m not a feminist” Linda began investigating. Her current thought, after four interviews and some study, is that they reject the conflict associated with feminism; nuns and monks cooperate; but they accept women’s strength. I really liked her process of inquiry.

I’ll write more as we go through the conference. And I'll send pictures.

It’s very hot, and there’s a long walk from my residence hall to the meeting space, but once I’m there I can stay all day. I’ve met some Zen women that I know, and we’ve sort of bonded with the other monastics wearing black robes – mostly Nichiren tradition. (It’s okay if that means nothing to you.) The variety of styles and colors of robes is beautiful and amazing. I didn’t know where the pink robes come from (Vietnam), or the all-white ones (Nepal). Gray are China and Korea, maroon are Mongolian or Tibetan Buddhism, black are from Japan, and there are lots of brown or gold ones. The Theravadins (classical Buddhists) come in a wide variety – you can see them in the first photo of chanting. (A Nepali nun with minimal English helped me identify where the various robes were from.)

A moving thing has happened twice now: a lay person walks up to me, bows, and hands me a small red envelope. I bow in return and accept the envelope. Each time, 20 Hong Kong dollars – worth maybe $2.50 or so – but it’s amazing to me. There are hundreds of monastics here; I don’t know how many of them have received this gift, but I know it is to be accepted warmly and with gratitude. Receiving a gift (whether asked or not) compels a certain quality of life - to live wholeheartedly, to be worthy of the gift.

I’m writing mostly because I promised to send photos. I will post more photos on the blog, www.MountainsandWatersAlliance.org. I'll also add them to this page if I can.

Love,
Shodo


Posted on June 8, 2017

Posted on June 8, 2017

Soon I leave for Sakyadhita. People who've been there are telling me it's a life-changing experience. Which matches what Beth told me, when she persuaded me to go.

Here is a little more information.

I'm going early, so I can stop in Phnom Penh and get some dental work done affordably. (THAT's ridiculous, right? With extra airfare, I save maybe $3000 on that work.) While in Phnom Penh, I'll hang out with my friend Beth Goldring, who is now retired from the Cambodia Aids Project; give a talk at her Buddhist group; probably meet some of her friends - and consider how to be present in this place in the way of allying with all beings. When I was here before, nearly all my time went to the AIDS patients. (There are two dental appointments, a few days apart, leaving me with free time.) On June 21, hopefully with no jet lag.

Here's a link to more information on the conference: http://www.sakyadhita.org/conferences/15th-si-con.html

While at the conference, I plan to send photos and write, as well as I can. 

Meanwhile, the weather is beautiful but very dry, and I'm spending an hour every day watering the newly planted vegetable plants. It is such a pleasure to watch them start blossoms and even tiny tomatoes... the people taking care of things here will have the first harvest.

Donations from old friends (most recently) have brought the campaign up nearly to half the goal. It's made me think about organizing my life so I don't have to ask for money help so much. Though I wanted to be full time at Zen practice (activism, teaching, and personal practice) it's okay to slow down, support myself like everyone else does. Working on it.

Love to you all,

Shodo

Posted on May 15, 2017

Posted on May 15, 2017

Plans are set up - plane tickets, arrival time, everything except my two free days at the end.

I haven't said much for a while, waiting while we changed our fiscal agent to the Fertile Ground Institute, http://www.fertilegroundinstitute.org/.  Though our former fiscal agent was solid and good, I'm actually excited about Fertile Ground, very in tune with the vision of Mountains and Waters. So now I'm actually reaching out to people, and hoping there will be more support.


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