Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Friday 13 February 2009

Engagement based on compassion

Buddhism is about transformational change of one's mind through training in compassion and wisdom. Many Buddhists just concentrate on their own mental change. Not so an engaged Buddhist such as Dr Adriana Ferranti. Since many years her Maitri (Compassion) center serves the poorest villages in the Gaya district with health care (leprosy, TB, HIV/Aids, mother and child care), primary education, animal care and natural resource management. The center operates in a decentralised way. Daily most of its 35 staffs are in the field advising villagers and patients, making sure medication is taken, looking after neglected animals and providing teachers to local schools. For Dr Ferranti it may provide her with good karma. At the same time her leadership contributes to transformational change beyond the individual level. Over the last decade the oasis of trees, she created in the midst of a desert, is an example of a different way of development compared to the urbanization that takes place in Bodhgaya town. The mud brick buildings combine aesthetics with local technology and climatic comfort. Contributing to better health, education and access to natural resources are small but basic steps towards sustainable development in the villages. Especially where essential government services are completely absent, true compassion has to lead to an engagement that benefits both the self and society.

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