A Thousand Hands: A Guidebook to Caring for Your Buddhist Community
A Thousand Hands is an anthology of 50 articles by Buddhist chaplains, teachers, therapists, and social workers, presenting Buddhist approaches and resources designed to help community leaders respond to the many challenges brought to them by their communities.
As a Buddhist community leader--or even a concerned community member--we may have read many sutras, practiced thousands of hours of meditation, or become well versed in Buddhist philosophy, but that does not prepare us for every situation we will face. It is very natural that people turn to a spiritual or religious community in times of trouble, and when such a person comes our hearts may fill with compassion and want to do whatever we can to ease their suffering. However, conversations with Buddhists in the West show that both training and resources in these areas are often lacking.
This book is divided into three sections. The first deals primarily with ways to help one's self--ways to help develop one's capacity to be present in an effective way to help others in need, whether that is through listening more effectively or better organizing a group's money in order to keep a temple or organization stable. The second section is more about helping individuals with particular issues, such as cancer, divorce, anger, financial troubles, and depression. The third section contains chapters with broader community themes like group facilitation, leading projects, creating family programs, and volunteering.
In each chapter, further resources, recommended reading, and relevant organizations are listed.
"The voices contributing to this volume demonstrate that North American Buddhism is awakening from its predominantly inward and private focus and realizing that our strength for the future lies in healthy, whole, and peaceful communities. Yet the forms of suffering that manifest in communities boggle the imagination in their diversity. The essays collected here show that the necessary concern has been aroused and the helping hands of compassion are reaching out, each hand, like that of the bodhisattva Guan Yin, emblazoned with the eye of intelligence that looks into the underlying causes and the prospects for a solution." Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
"A Thousand Hands provides a remarkably broad set of resources aimed at helping people navigate suffering with greater clarity and ease. The editors have done a wonderful job gathering together many wise voices to share on a host of important topics." Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
"Buddhist communities struggle with the reality that we bring the world with us--that walking into the doors of the sangha does not instantly liberate us from our mental illness, addictions, trauma, and emotional woundedness. Even more jarring is confronting the truth that our sanghas are organized to privilege the mental, physical, and fi nancial elite. The Buddha taught a Dharma for all ages, and at its heart is the call for radical loving integrated with truth. This book helps us to hold love and truth together as we move into the profound, beautiful, and very uncomfortable space of meeting people where they are and asking: How can I care for you?" Lama Rod Owens, co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation
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