by Ayya Santussika
Our Walk to Feed the Hungry in San Jose on Sunday, October 6th, began at the oldest Quaker meeting house in California. As people arrived, registering at a table covered with beautiful messages: “Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality,” a long line formed to make donations. All of us were meeting and making friends on this warm and sunny October morning.
Just before the Walk began, we heard from leaders and participants of the three Buddhist groups that meet weekly at the Quaker house and also from the San Jose Friend’s. Berget Jelane told us about the San Jose Insight Meditation group, Jason Murphy and Kim Bravo about the San Jose Dharma Punx, and Ritu Goswamy about the Floating Zendo. Julian, caretaker of the meeting house and member of the San Jose Friend’s, described their meetings and welcomed us all to their Sunday morning gatherings.
The first leg of the Walk overlapped with the route of the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. As we approached the corner where our routes joined, we could hear the band, Chubby’s All Stars, playing and see a stream of runners rounding the turn. The police directed us to the other side of the street and we were all moving along with a lot more visibility than we have probably ever enjoyed on this Walk before.
Again this year, we delighted in the peace, beauty and sweet hospitality of Buddhi Vihara, where we refreshed ourselves with fruit, drinks, and blessing chants led by abbot and founder Ven. Amarabuddhi.
Our lunch stop was at the stunning San Jose Rose Garden, where Hong Truong and friends offered us all a lovely and delicious lunch. We are deeply grateful for their kindness and generosity.
During lunch, we heard inspiring talks from Christina Egan, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen, this year’s local recipient of a percentage of the Walk proceeds; Raul Lozano, Executive Director and Founder of Valley Verde, partner organization with BGR working in Santa Clara County; and Elise De Grande, the new Executive Director of Lotus Outreach, a long-time partner with BGR working in Cambodia.
We also heard from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi through an uplifting and encouraging letter, reminding us how important our support is for our brothers and sisters around the world in need of food. He urged us to develop “conscientious compassion … a compassion actively committed to promoting justice in the world, at multiple levels: social justice, economic justice, political justice, and legal justice, [a compassion which] must move us to redeem people from misery and help them rediscover their own inner dignity.”
The Walk ended at about 2:30 pm back at the Quaker House. It was a wonderful day of goodwill, kindness, generosity and warmth. All together, there were about 100 participants and a total of $8,622 was donated for the work of Buddhist Global Relief.
Thanks to Kevin Cheung for the wonderful photos (© All Rights Reserved)
The full set can be seen here: