Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Group at Gold Mountain Monastery
Last Saturday (Oct. 24) I led the BGR Walk to Feed the Hungry in San Francisco. The walk started out from the Gold Mountain Monastery in Chinatown and proceeded up a very steep hill, with a pause for photos in front of the Grace Cathedral.
The Steep Ascent Uphill
We made our first stop at the Buddhist Churches of America on Octavia Street. Here we were treated to refreshments and were brought up to the stupa on the roof to pay homage to the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha and the chief disciples Sariputta and Moggallana. We also learned about the long history of BCA, the Buddhist organization with the longest continuous history in the US.
Buddhist Church of America
Our friend, BGR adviser Ven. Uganda Buddharakkhita, the first Theravada Buddhist monk from Uganda and founder of the Uganda Buddhist Centre in Entebbe, writes:
To join your noble effort, the Uganda Buddhist Centre sponsored the “Walk for the Hungry” yesterday. The walk started at the Uganda Buddhist Centre. Led by Ven. Dhammakami (a Buddhist nun, dressed in pink robes), it was our first walk of this nature. Because the people who participated in the walk are very poor, they did not raise any money. However, by their walk, they raised awareness of the work of Buddhist Global Relief. You will notice that I am not in the picture; this is because I am spending the rain retreat overseas.
Some 125 people joined the fifth annual Michigan Walk to Feed the Hungry on Sunday, September 27, held in the Kensington Park in Milford. Participants came from more than a dozen Buddhist groups from across Michigan. These ranged from Sri Lankan and Thai monasteries to a Korean Zen temple, the Chinese Chan and Pure Land traditions, members of several Vietnamese temples and students of Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh. They also included Westerners from various insight meditation groups in Ann Arbor, Lansing, and the metropolitan Detroit area. And there were lots of kids! Bringing families out was one of the goals of Ven. Haju Sunim of the Ann Arbor Zen Temple, so our youngest “walker” was just learning how to stand up from a crawl!
The promotional campaign for Buddhist Global Relief’s “Concert to Feed the Hungry” has been recognized with a 2015 American Design Award. Designer Rob Barth of Barth and Company received a Certificate of Excellence from competition sponsor Graphic Design USA. According to the sponsor, the annual event attracted “more than 10,000 entries from around the country, with a highly selective 15% recognized for excellence.”
In response to the award, Rob said: “For me, better than the award is the fact that the campaign successfully promoted the concert and helped raise awareness of world hunger and fund BGR’s efforts to feed hungry people around the world.” It was Rob Barth who also designed BGR’s award-winning logo (see the masthead above), which over the years has been applied masterfully to our promotional materials by our team of talented professional communications designers.
Graphic designers play a major role in shaping cultural attitudes, political advocacy, and consumer spending, and in these capacities their work can be used for both harm and for good. Ethicists in the graphic arts community, well aware that design is a double-edged sword, have been urging graphic artists to use their gifts responsibly. An article titled “Ethics and Social Responsibility” on the website of the Professional Association for Design reminds designers that they work within “a much broader system of moral values and obligations—not just how we do our work, but what it is that we are doing in the first place and the impact it will have on the world.” The article urges graphic designers “to contribute to the betterment of all and to ensure abundance, diversity and health to future generations.”
Through his work for Buddhist Global Relief, Rob Barth has certainly been living up to this commitment. We all congratulate Rob and thank him for his valued contribution.
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. Continue reading
by Raksmey Var
Lotus Outreach Country Representative for Cambodia
On October 1st, a “Walk to Feed the Hungry” took place in Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia, as a joint project of Buddhist Global Relief and its partner in Cambodia, Lotus Outreach International. The walk was organized in conjunction with the granting of Lotus Outreach GATE [Girls’ Access To Education] scholarships and also coincided with the opening of the new academic year, 2013-2014. For this reason, all the students who came for the opening of the academic year joined the walk.
While the organizers had originally expected a turnout of 250 walkers, around 500 people participated. The students carried banners written in both Khmer and English, bearing the BGR and Lotus Outreach logos and the inscription: “Walk To Feed The Hungry: A Worldwide Walk of Compassion.” The walk proceeded from a pagoda [Buddhist temple] to Svay Chek High School along a one kilometer road in the Svay Chek District, Banteay Meanchey Province. Continue reading