Something a friend sent to me...
The only article of faith to have before Buddhist practice is possible. Is the belief "what you do really makes a difference"
The simple reason for this is
If you do not believe what you do really makes a difference then why do anything? Let alone practice for the emancipation of the heart
In the human quest to stop violence it seems goodness holds the odds least favored to win.
One of the skillful strategies against violence is to create acts of goodness to ripple outward and bombard those unwholesome actions done by others.
Buddhism in its younger prime encompassed almost 2/3rds of the world. Archaeologist have dug up Buddhist art as far from India as Greece. Historical writings from that region and others confirm Buddhisms existence there at one time.
Un like the spreading of most faiths the wholesome skills expressed by Buddha, and kept alive through the student teacher relationship of his monks were never spread by the sword. They were never maintained by fear or terror.
Also unlike most religions were the clergy makes the fiery sermons and the laity charge into action. Buddhist monks them selves have been targets of most ideological human blunders themselves.
The treasures of Tibet's wisdom plundered, and monks killed or chased away. Cambodia used to be a Buddhist kingdom similar to Thailand. Unlike Thailand Communist came to power under Pol Pot. Who had 98% of the Countries monks murdered as enemies of his ideology. Along with them most of the temple art work was destroyed and looted.
With the rise and fall of dictators, countries, empires, ideologies; the timeless, empowering teachings of renunciation, non violent, loving friendliness, forgiveness have managed to survive into the present day.
How ? is the real miracle as Buddhism is armed only with skill, and wholesome qualities.
I found a group the Sera Mey Redevelopment Project to help in the development and educational capacity of the exiled Tibetan learning centers. http://serameyproject.org/buddhism-for-today.shtml
I was personally trained with in the Thai forest tradition, and really know nothing of Tibetan wisdom. I have herd of the wonderful teachings given by Pema Chodren, and those timeless skills kept alive through the inspiration of the Dali Lama.
This project seeks to construct educational centers in India for the transmission of these timeless skills to new generations of personages. Those that stick with it in time will be the meditation masters for the following generation to enjoy.
Generosity is the quality Buddha maid his monks/nuns dependant on. In the Buddhist monastic code monks/nuns are not allowed to beg. They walk down the street and the faithful wait for them as they pass, never do they go door to door.
There rules also forbid them from accepting unintended gifts; meaning that if a personal belonging is left behind at a retreat. The monk/nun will never start using it for themselves.
During the Buddha's life his monks started retreating into themselves, growing there own food, storing it, and maintaining things among themselves.
They never shared there wisdom because they had no need, and enjoyed the fruits of there practice with in the solitude of the wilderness. The Buddha remedied this by setting a rule requiring them to only except things from the hands of lay people. With regards to food they received, he forbid them to store anything. Requiring them to discard what they did not use, and trust the laity would give them more the next day.
This was an instrument for there own training forcing them to go against the grain of there natural human tendency to cling to possessions for security, and as a check and balance keeping them pure before the laity. If they depended on them for food, better not to loose there confidence by inappropriate action.
Bringing me to my concluding point. The Buddha said generosity was an essential quality to develop along the path to loosening, and breaking craving and clinging. Cultivating and frequently practicing this quality as a way to deepen the skills and insights needed to develop that inner refuge from which to watch in safety the rising and passing away of conditional things.
In whom to give the Buddha's answer was who you have confidence in. The more my practice develops and those enlighten qualities become a deep rooted position of personal power for me I gain confidence to give back to those skillful people who yielded me this gift.
I personal make a point to give the gifts I have(talents, money, etc) to my own tradition. I have by chance found this redevelopment project and figured to share it with you. If you were so motivated, and looking for a chance to contribute to some of the constructive projects going on, and share in the continued transmission of Buddhist wisdom and inspiration. Those monks you give an opportunity to be trained will share those skills with others, touching countless lives in various ways.
*******Your gift there fore will inevitably come back to you***