Posts Tagged ‘Dalai Lama’

Happy Birthday Dalai Lama — Volunteer to Celebrate

Dalai Lama quoteJuly 6, is the 84th birthday of His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.

To celebrate, practice what HE preaches and find new ways to express compassion and connection in your world. One of his more famous quotes: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

If you’re particularly inspired by him, here are a couple of Dalai Lama-specific volunteer opportunities to check out.

The Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education, in Vancouver, seeks volunteers for all of its expanding programs, including their renowned “Educating the Heart” program. Find out more here.

Traveling to India? (Lucky you!) The Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in Bangalore welcomes volunteers who, in return for their service, are able to learn the Tibetan language, Buddhist philosophy, and receive room and board while volunteering. Check out their needs and opportunities at this link.

Dalai Lama Fellows is a global program authorized by him, working with social innovators and those working toward worldwide peace, justice, and ecology. Several fellows of the program have developed and launched programs around the world that need dedicated volunteers. Find your perfect match here.

Stand Up for Tibet

I’ve long had an aversion to traveling to China–I’ve never been–truly WISH to go, but I can’t wrap my head around the political power situation China exercises so harshly over Tibet. I just can’t reconcile myself to the inhumanity of that enormous nation and the way is does everything to squash a peaceful people. Tibetans can be arrested for having a photograph of the Dalai Lama, they are forbidden to practice their spirituality, and the oppression is so great, several Tibetans have recently set themselves on fire in protest–a dozen this year. The most recent was just yesterday when a Buddhist monk self-immolated, and officials in the Chinese government deny it occurred.

HERE is a petition you can sign calling for global intervention. Six of the dozen who have set themselves on fire have died, including two nuns. December 10 is the Global Day of Action for Tibet with demonstrations around the world. I know we’re all exhausted from the demonstrating of late, whether you’ve been occupying or simply had your television broadcasts and newspapers occupied, please consider signing the petition, contacting your representatives, and most importantly, TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUE. It is time for our global community to start acting like a community and save Tibetan lives. Stand Up for Tibet!

Kalachakra Mandala

The world and how we relate to it is so impermanent and fleeting. The recent weather catastrophes are harsh reminders that change is always around the corner. This video of the meticulous creation of a sand mandala, and then its destruction is truly fascinating. All that work, and then, release.

Children in Crossfire

As you’re thinking about Mom for the upcoming Mother’s Day cards and flowers extravaganza (and overcrowded brunch venues)…it is worth a few moments to think about children the world over, especially those without parental influence.

Children in Crossfire is a charity based in the U.K., founded by Richard Moore, who, when he was ten years old in 1972, was blinded by a rubber bullet fired by a soldier point blank at his face. His life since has been one filled with compassion and passion for children and their rights to happiness no matter the circumstances swirling around them. A tireless advocate for kids of conflict, the Dalai Lama recently visited Moore in Northern Ireland, holding him up as a fantastic example of living life at peace with your world.

Most of the actual volunteer opportunities with Children in Crossfire are about fund-raising and spreading the word…so think about making a donation in honor of your mother, and mothers everywhere, for war kids and orphans of conflict, disease, and poverty.


There is a lot of talk, with President Obama’s trip to sign a new treaty about nuclear arms, about a nuclear-free future. I love that idea, and while I know it is in reference to weapons, and not nuclear energy, I come from a past of lots of “No Nukes” t-shirts and rallies, working as a volunteer at pancake breakfasts to raise money for the “Safe Energy” group in my home town, standing around a booth at the county fair with my mom as she handed out clothespins we had painted for weeks that had cute sayings about using the sun for power. Nuclear power has always scared me–and not without reason. I am certain the technology has grown in these last few decades, but I still remember being young and traveling with the family to see a nuclear reactor and looking down at some glowing, otherworldly rod or pod or some freaky, melt your face off thing. Even then, I was thinking, with alarm, “Why are we in this building?!”

And, of course, there are the tragedies of nuclear power. Most notably, Three Mile Island, and especially Chernobyl. There’s a charitable program, operating internationally and particularly near Chernobyl, with which you can volunteer to really make a difference in the lives of kids who have been born since the tragedy, surviving the disease and birth defects that are their lot in life for coming into the world in that particular place, filled with radiation and death, as it is. Chernobyl Children’s Project International uses the good will and hard work of international volunteers for medical and orphanage support work, building and construction, and recuperation programs. CCPI also does advocacy, education, and outreach in Belarus and globally, as so many of us are under the mistaken impression that the “cleanup” meant that problems are over. Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The organization does powerful work with juvenile cardiac care patients (huge numbers of kids need heart surgeries, and CCPI is making them more available than ever), orphanages, nursing, and hospice programs for the radically high numbers of terminally ill children.

This one will challenge your heart, but, in the words of the Dalai Lama, “If our tears do not lead us to act then we have lost the reason of our humanity, which is compassion.”

Dalai Lama

“If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.”

The Dalai Lama on his Facebook page….yes, Facebook, March 30, 2010