Social Action Project

About BFF Social Action Project

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Buddhist Faith Fellowship's Social Action Project
Jizo, symbol of rescue and support

About Social Action Project

 

Founded in 2005, originally under the name of Buddha Gaia, which focused solely on environmental issues, we were renamed and organized as the Buddhist Social Action Project in late 2008. We are not an independent organization but the direct social action arm of the non-profit Buddhist Faith Fellowship (BFF), headquartered in Middletown, Connecticut.  Members of the Project may or may not be members of the BFF or any other Buddhist or Church group. 

 

Community Engagement

 

The Social Action Project, the socially engaged arm of our spiritual community, the Buddhist Faith Fellowship,  which is completely non-ideological and non-political and seeks practical engagement and solutions to the difficult local social and environment problems of the 21st century by using Buddhist principles as our guide for action.

 

Our members and friends are drawn into active engagement with the social and environmental issues of our times. We believe that humane and compassionate social action naturally unfolds as a response to the incessant suffering and folly in the world. Inspired by the Buddha’s teachings of the Bodhisattva way and the teachings of Shinran Shonin, we are compelled to work together in order to alleviate and transform this dukkha (suffering) into the substance of love, wisdom and peace. As our teaching expresses, "let’s transform bits of rubble into gold."

 

Social Action

 

By "social action" we mean the many different kinds of action that benefit humankind and other species. This ranges from charity, teaching and training to organized kinds of social and environmental service. The Buddhist Faith Fellowship believes that through various kinds of local community service we can work to alleviate suffering, and help create a better society and healthier planet.

 

Eight Pillars of Action

 

Our Social Action Project seeks to extend the Buddhist dharma beyond the dojo (practice hall) into the everyday life in bringing forth the experience of healing and interdependence. In the 21st century, we are challenged by countless fronts of despair, injustice and confusion. We realize that we must pick our battles due to limited resources. Therefore, the SAP focuses its social action on a local level in eight spheres that we call the Eight Pillars of Action.

 

Environment

Human Rights

Justice

Health

Poverty

Non-violence

Community

Liberty

 

The Ethics of No-Harm

 

Living out our ideals is key to our daily spiritual practice and social action endeavors. We strive to walk the talk and talk the walk. Therefore, the Buddhist Social Action Project and its individual members strive to practice the Buddha’s Five Ethical Precepts as guidelines to wholesome, harmonious and joyful living. These Buddhist ethics are based on non-harm and well-being to all beings and ourselves.

 

The Five Precepts are:

 

a. I will practice love, I refrain from killing.

 

                        b. I will practice generosity, I refrain from stealing.

 

                        c. I will practice contentment, I refrain from sexual misconduct.

 

                        d. I will practice mindful speech, I refrain from harmful speech.

 

e. I will practice mindful consumption; I refrain from intoxicants &

                harmful substances that harm myself, society & the environment. 

 

Location

 

SAP is located in Middletown, Connecticut and largely focuses its efforts in Middlesex County but we also strive to be active throughout the state.

 

Our Funding

 

Being the direct social action arm of the Buddhist Faith Fellowship (BFF), the Social Action Project receives all of its funding directly from the BFF and from contributions given by members and supporters. At this moment, it receives no grant funding. It is under the BFF’s nonprofit, tax-exempt IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) and 170(c) for charitable religious organization. This means that the Project is completely non-ideological and non-political. Since Social Action Project is not yet an independent organization, all donations are made directly through the BFF and are non-refundable.

 

Our Symbol

 

The symbol on our web site is not the Buddha but the archetypical Bodhisattva Jizo. What is a Bodhisattva? Any being motivated by compassion and seeks enlightenment not only for him/herself but also for everyone, human and non-human.

 

Jizo is the inspirational social action bodhisattva who courageously goes into any place or situation to help those in need, even to hell itself to rescue those in suffering. He is powerful image of hope and solace. Jizo is  Japanese for Ksitgarbha, which means “Earth Store.” This means that Jizo is related to the planet Earth which gives birth and supports all things without prejudice, and provides them the environment to flourish and evolve. In this way, like the Earth itself, Jizo can produce countless opportunities for things to heal and make them grow and prosper. Anyone who believes in his work and follows his path of love and action, will unfold the spiritual treasures stored within the Earth.

 

Therefore, we model our Social Action Project on the Jizo’s image and path whose qualities are love, optimism, fearlessness, and kindness. By embodying Jizo Bodhisattva, and becoming the eyes, hears, arms and legs in this world of confusion and suffering, we give a real purpose, direction and action to our efforts. We channel this love, compassion and action throughout our endeavors.

 

Letís transform bits of rubble into gold