For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’…’I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ -Christian Bible Matthew 25
Before giving, glad;
while giving, the mind is bright & clear;
having given, one is gratified:
This is the consummation of the sacrifice.
Free of passion, free of aversion,
free of delusion, without fermentation:
the consummation of the field of the sacrifice,
one restrained, leading the holy life.
Having rinsed oneself,
having given with one’s own hands,
then — because of oneself,
because of the other
— that is a sacrifice yielding great fruit.
Having given thus
— intelligent —
a person of conviction,
with awareness released,
— wise —
in a world of bliss
Dana Sutta: Giving
There are a couple of projects and their originators that I’d like to make mention of.
Soto Zen Buddhist priest, Jana Drakka, operates what is called a Zendo Without Walls. She runs meditation groups mainly for people living in single-room occupancy hotels and homeless people in San Francisco. Here is an article about her activities.
In San Antonio Texas, Jon Clark conducts meditation practice at the local homeless shelter. He is a member of an Interfaith Ministry program. He keeps a blog of the group’s activities here:
Maybe this kind of activity would be useful in your neighborhood or area. Maybe if there already is such a program available it could use some support. Maybe it’s a good idea to get out of one’s comfort zone once in a while. Maybe gratitude can be reciprocated.
Nathan at Dangerous Harvests has done a thoughtful followup to this piece: Institutional Buddhist Priorities?