(By Chinjandra, Kali) Two weekends ago, a few of us traveled to the Shambala Mountain Center in Colorado for the Lenz Foundation conference with Foundation grantees and their collaboration partners. At Shambhala, we enjoyed the power of the land, the open meadows, the crisp mountain air, a vibrant and beautiful Stupa and the company of Buddhist monks from multiple lineages living in America.
The conference was the culmination of a two-year program to teach grantees how to collaborate with like-minded organizations to further their goals and become more effective. At the conference, grantees completed and presented 18 grant proposals, such as:
- developing a "pay what you can" restaurant consortium addressing hunger from a more egalitarian perspective
- training young people meditation techniques to curb violence in the inner city
- looking at ways to teach mindfulness to graduate students in top institutions (future world leaders)
- bringing mindfulness training to all personnel impacted by the justice system ranging from attorneys to prisoners
- developing a portable meditation station that can be set up wherever people congregate and meet to socialize (open markets, health fairs, sports events, etc.)
- encouraging diversity among meditation teachers to more closely mirror the diversity of America
- and more!. .
We were so impressed with the commitment, hopes and dreams that the grantees brought to their proposals! This collaborative, teamwork-oriented gathering of many Buddhist organizations of different lineages and persuasions was a first. A new community has been formed, thanks to the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism.
At the end of the conference we gathered in a circle of power with representatives from about 40 organizations and shared a word or phrase about the conference. The feeling in the circle reminded us of our times we stood together in unity and light with Rama. As we stood with our brothers and sister monks, we thought about Rama and his love of Buddhism and meditation, on the basis of which he formed the Foundation.
Rama once gave a talk called, "Samadhi is Loose in America.".Upon reflection, in the conference's closing circle, one of us said, "Buddhism is Loose in America."
Based on what we saw at the conference, in a few short years after Rama leaving the body, we are pleased to report that Buddhism IS loose in America.