Our world needs our help. Engaged Zen practice is about alleviating suffering. Our social structures are sometimes inadequate and often create conditions for suffering to arise. Our practices are directed toward changing these structures or assisting directly in care-giving. Change and Care-giving must be understood within the context of our precepts. We are not here to impose, but to invite. We are not here to destroy, but to build. Our practice is to invite change, offer nurturance and support, and assist where we can to make our world a better place.
Consider vulnerable, disenfranchised populations. There might include, homeless, poor, victims of violence, mentally ill, and those who are ill or dying. Consider what services exist for these populations. Look into your community’s social and human services organizations. What are the needs? Where are the loopholes?
Consider working for peace and non-violence through bearing witness. Practicing Zazen in public spaces offers a model of serene reflection that is not about conflict, but an invitation to slow down and reflect.
Offering Meditation instruction to closed in-groups such as elders or prisoners might be another venue. Look into local nursing homes, retirement communities, or correctional facilities. Are there pathways to help there?
Engaged practice takes a willingness to see what is needed and the courage to step up to offer our assistance. As in all things, patience and diligence are necessary. We are here to consult with you.