Hello to all of you Dear Ones at PDN,
I have recently founded an org called the Homeless Dharma Network. Please allow me to share with you one of its first activities here in Santa Cruz, CA.
The Homeless Dharma Network
Founded by Steve Conover, a Buddhist who knows the difficulties of homelessness & poverty, the Homeless Dharma Network (HDN) seeks to provide the opportunity for homeless folks to benefit as others do from meditation, teachings and retreats.
The primary goal of HDN is to help the homeless and very low income people who are either Buddhists or interested in learning and practicing Buddhism, by providing group sittings, rides to Dharma Talks, Teachings, Retreats, finding Spiritual Friends, and thus learn how to help others and be of service.
These services are offered free of charge to homeless and very low income people. So if you would like to support these efforts in any way (donations of funds and/or items such as: altar items, cushions, bells, meditation shaws, yoga mats, or to provide an occassional ride to Dharma Centers for Teachings and/or Talks), please contact:
Steve Conover (Sonam Dorje)
Wow! What an inspired project! I am excited to hear more about your work with homeless Buddhists. I hope you will continue to post about it. I think it is especially valuable that you will be arranging rides to Dharma talks at other Buddhist Centers. I feel personally that it is important for true sangha to be open and inclusive, so you are offering a great gift both for the homeless practitioners and for the Dharma centers. When I lived at Upaya Zen Center, occasionally a homeless member of the community would join us for a meal.
Santa Cruz is one of my favorite cities - I can't wait to get back there!
Carter - PDN Staff
Thanks Carter, I enjoyed reading your post. You lived at Upaya? I've been wishing I could attend their Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program, but really don't see how I could afford it. I would most likely need to live their as a resident, that I could do, I live comfortably in my vehicle now and have enough of a small monthly income to provide my own food, and perhaps some monthly rent, but the tuition I don't see my being able to do that. But I have not given up on the idea and am keeping my options open.
Hope we chat again soon.
I know Upaya's Chaplaincy Program is well worth it, - and they do occasionally allow Upaya's residents to participate. Contact Maia Duerr at Upaya. She runs the program and has a lot of wisdom around the logistics of it all.
Thank you for the info, Carter, I will certainly look into it.
Very interesting and inspiring project! I couldn't help getting my own ideas for Gothenburg, Sweden where I live :) I haven't thought of offer free classes, sittings or invitations for ceremonies to homeless people in the area before. If we get it going here I'll let you know about it. How is it working out for you now?