newsletter logo: Sangha Reflections

Winter 2002

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Give the gift that keeps giving (or the Dana that keeps doing!)

In this year that has been unprecedented in adversity but also in generosity, and in this season of giving, the Washington Mindfulness Community asks that consider making a donation to support mindful practice in the DC area. In particular, we are making a holiday fund-raising push to build up the WMC Scholarship Fund, which enables those without means to travel and participate in retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh, and other dharma teachers. Please consider sending us a check to support this effort.

You might also want to consider supporting the Washington Buddhist Vihara at this holiday time. The Vihara has been the host of the WMC for seven years now and allows us to use their space for meditation and social gatherings, at no charge. The periodic donations from the WMC, and from WMC members, to the Vihara comprises an important part of their yearly budget. Please note that now that the WMC has been granted full non-profit church status from the IRS, your gifts to the WMC are completely tax-deductible. If you need an acknowledgement, please include a note to that effect with your donation.

sketch of berries
Rita Corbin
An envelope has been included with this newsletter for your convenience, along with a "return card." Please include this card with your check or money-order, and be sure to check one of the boxes, so we might know whether you'd like your donation to go to the WMC Scholarship Fund, WMC General Funds, and the Washington Buddhist Vihara. Thank you for your generosity and have a happy, peaceful holiday.


New: Committee on Mindful Politics

Recently the board of WMC approved a Committee on Mindful Politics. The MPC was started by a WMC group on Capitol Hill early this year at the suggestion of Carolyn Cleveland. Upon her return from a two-month stay at Plum Village where she had asked Thich Nhat Hanh for some suggestions on how to influence lawmakers to become more mindful in the important work they do. As a result she invited a few interested friends from the Capitol Hill Mindfulness Community to discuss next steps.

sketch of tree with birds
Rita Corbin

From that small beginning a special committee was formed and approved by WMC, Mindfulness Walks around the Capitol were organized, a "love letter" to congress members was distributed, contacts were made with an important group called the Faith and Politics Institute and visits to various congressional offices took place to discuss how the group might assist officials and staff in doing their work more mindfully in the midst of numerous pressures and deadlines.

The words of Thich Nhat Hanh to Carolyn at Plum Village were these: "A spiritual dimension {in a congress person's work} is very important, because now we are living in a time when fear is dominating, we do not know exactly where we are going, and so we are afraid of making big mistakes that will destroy us. This is why a spiritual dimension is very important. A sangha can seek the sponsorship of a number of congress members to suggest the idea to congress to share and talk about the {mindfulness} practice. A spiritual dimension is needed to enhance the quality of work congress is doing."

The group will be looking for other practitioners to join its efforts and gradually find even better ways to promote mindfulness practice within the political community of Washington. It is a big task but needed so very much. For more information or to indicate your interest in working with the committee please contact Carolyn at cultivatepeace(at)


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