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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 32 to the village level, when you get out with people who have almost nothing, it helps you to cut through and get to what’s really important. You do what’s called seva, self-less service? Yes. I would like to do more hands-on seva like I did in the past, but most of my seva now is mobilizing consciousness and people. I’m connected with Trees for the Future, an or- ganization that plants trees in the most degraded lands on the planet. My goal is to facilitate the sponsorship of two hundred villages, primarily in south India, and to plant over 1,000,008 trees. Why is reforestation a particularly important issue to you? I think everybody has to find their way. It’s easy to be over- whelmed by the entire Earth’s problems. But they’re all in- terconnected—poverty being connected to energy resources, and energy resources being connected to how the land and the water are used. I’ve decided to focus on tree planting be- cause I think it’s one of the most important ways we have to address global warming—an issue that transcends all bor- ders. There will be even greater poverty if it’s not addressed. But you’re also involved with other types of activism. Yes, last year I started the Global Mala Project, which uses collective practice to unite yoga studios, practitioners, and schools, across the borders of their mats and their individual studios. This year, on September 21 and 22, each of the ap- proximately fifty participating centers did a practice of 108 Sun Salutations, or 108 minutes of meditation, or some other practice in accord with their particular tradition. Each of these Global Mala events was dedicated to practice, or to practice and seva. The centers raised funds for the organiza- tion of their choice, with the awareness that—no matter if it’s $108 or $1,008—it’s not a drop in the bucket when we join together to address the most urgent issues of our times. Would you say it’s important that all people on a spiritual path have a seva component to their practice? If we feel a huge pressure to be heroes and saints, then we may miss some deeper work. It’s really important to ac- knowledge that there are rhythms to seva. Sometimes the most important service we can perform has to do with our own internal universe; that is, the seva of giving ourselves a deep healing or reorganizing our lives. This seva benefits ourselves, but it also benefits others because it allows us to have an even greater positive effect on the world. At the same time, however, I think that we all have to get engaged now be- cause everybody on this planet has a duty to move toward a sustainable lifestyle. Whatever way we can—with balance— let’s do that. Let’s begin. ♦ 4TH ANNUAL BUDDHIST WOMEN’S CONFERENCE H EALING D HARMA Saturday, March 14, 2009 8:30am to 5:30pm DePaul University Student Center 2250 N. Sheffield, Chicago,IL 60614 Keynote Speaker: Rev. Ellen Brix, author of Healing Zen Featuring speakers from all three traditions of Buddhism For conference and workshop information: www.dharmawomen.org Sponsored by the Buddhist Council of the Midwest