Template for a Wesak-DCEN Gathering
We invite you to join us in this adding your community’s energy to this necessary and beautiful momentum. As you explore the DCEN resources and call to mobilize offered here, consider hosting a Declare Climate Emergency Now event at your home, a friend’s home or you local Sangha around the time of Wesak, May 18/19, the remembrance of the Buddha’s awakening.
The aim of the Wesak Declare Climate Emergency Now event is to introduce your group (sangha, dharma friends, neighbors, etc.) to the concept of climate emergency and to provide a safe place to explore the information and channel your love into action together. The Wesak observance might be explicit among you and your dharma friends or implicit as you gather workmates, neighbors or other neighbors. This is a great occasion to cook, or have a shared pot luck vegan meal, and to strengthen community refuge, which is vital for the times ahead.
One Earth Sangha will be hosting a live event for our community on Saturday, the 18th with Thanisarra and guests. The recording will be shared soon thereafter.
Below we’ve listed some possibilities for your Wesak DCEN event. Choose which seem to fit the needs of your group and/or add elements you create. Please feel encouraged to share your plans, resources, practices and stories in the comments below!
Help build momentum by submitting your DCEN event here. After your event, share the story here in the comments below with a write up or even a video.
Prepare the Ground
Call on the wisdom and guidance of the Dharma
- Commemorate Wesak to honor the Buddha’s awakening
- Chant an invocation consistent with your tradition together, for instance the Mangala Sutta
- Guided or silent meditation
- Honor the 3 refuges, read Thich Nhat Hanh’s 5 precepts, recite the 5 remembrances or other sacred text from your tradition
- Offer loving-kindness practice for ourselves, each other and the Earth
- Co-Create an altar or other physical expression where people can make an offering that symbolizes their willingness to turn toward this crisis
Facilitate Monumental Conversations
Set a context for maintaining support and safety as we enter difficult territory together
- Read aloud shared agreements from your community. You might refer to or use East Bay Meditation Center’s “Agreements for Multicultural Interactions”
- Introduce yourselves and bring all voices into the space.
- Bring in Lama Willa B. Miller’s “Five Practices for Working with the Immense Challenge of Climate Change”
Allow: This Is Happening
For this moment, allow the climate crisis to be as it is. For this you might go around the circle, or in larger gatherings, break into smaller groups.
- Anchor: Consistent with your tradition, connect with that which resources you through difficulty, be that a benefactor, imaginal figure, your body or the body of the Earth
- Allow: Summarize the main points of the call to Declare Climate Emergency Now, pausing to allow grief, sorrow and whatever emerges.
- Deepen: In silent or guided meditation, invite participants to explore what happens in their being in response to what is happening to our world. What hasn’t yet but might now be recognized. Allow for a depth of presence, contemplation and internal exploration of what is arising.
- Steady: Ensure that mindfulness remains strong with all that arises. What do you notice? What surprises you? Return to your anchor again and again.
- Share: Voice responses with one another and the group. Consider using Joanna Macy’s “Open Sentences exercise” from The Work that Reconnects or some other way to structure this sharing.
Exploring Outward Response
Consider and share what you feel moved to offer to this aching world. What responses call to you? Here it is critical that we welcome and affirm the necessity of diverse responses without comparing or recruiting. May we all be wildly successful!
- Consider individual impacts and ecological citizenship as an important aspect of spiritual practice and social signaling. Name aspects of your use of planetary resources that you might challenge yourself to reduce with the support of community, not instead of but as critical compliment to any collective change. Note the non-dualistic connections between individual and collective change.
- Name current or past climate actions and activists that inspire you whether they be about political activism, interrupting ecological harm, protection of front-line communities, environmental justice, simplification, or sustainable solutions. You might note current movements such as Sunrise, the School Strikes, and Extinction Rebellion along with those from recent history such as Standing Rock and long standing movements to protect Earth and her beings from harm.
- What political organizing, direct actions or other initiatives might you step into or go farther with?
- Consider the role of courageous, skillful conversations in social change. How might we move from climate silence to normalizing concern for and active response, from the kitchen table to letters to the editor and all levels in between?
- Explore not only what but how and why of response. What new possibilities in the perspective, resources and practices might you bring?
- Consider forms and structures for gatherings that might help you going forward. Small and on-going groups? Monthly conversations in your sangha or community? Kitchen table discussions? Collective action?
Honor and Dedicate
- Share reflections and transformations.
- Share gratitude for one another, for the organizers and hosts.
- Dedicate whatever merits that arise from this experience to the benefit of all beings.
- Consider other ways to close your event with affirming ritual.
Other possible elements
- Speakers on climate and engaged practice
- Music, Chanting, Movement
- Sharing a plant-based meal or resources on decarbonizing solutions.
- Lead by example by making the event as zero-waste and carbon-neutral as possible (byo plates, cups, utensils; encouraging public or shared transport, etc.)
Thank you for joining us on this journey. Again, we invite you to register your event and to share ideas, resources and stories from your event below in the comments section.
Declare Climate Emergency Now (DCEN) Working Group:
Thanissara, Anita Kline, Charity Kahn, Kitty Costello, and Kristin Barker
We Are Change
We Are Power
We Are Nature
We are Earth’s Immune System Rising