Saturday, January 29, 2011

Knitting for Peace

For this post, I was trying to pick one book that's been influential to my Dharma practice - no mean feat, since I love to read. I went through all my favorite Dharma books and authors before it occurred to me to feature a book that's not "about" Buddhist practice but has nevertheless had a wonderful effect on my practice of generosity: Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time by Betty Christiansen. It examines the growing trend in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world of knitting and crocheting for charity and features a number of prominent charities for knitters and crocheters, including my two personal favorites, Afghans for Afghans and Mother Bear Project.

A lot of good people, I think, feel helpless when they see the suffering in the world. What the book really drives home for me is that you don't have to have money or vast intellect or political power or even a lot of free time to do good. I don't have the wealth or intelligence it would take to find a cure for HIV/AIDS - but I can knit a teddy bear that will bring joy and comfort to an AIDS orphan in Namibia. (The photo shows one of my bears with its child.) No one person can do everything, but every person can do something.

My great-grandmother knit for soldiers during the First World War; my grandmother did the same during World War II. They knit out of a spirit of giving and in the hope of a better world. Though what I'm doing is not exactly the same - they knit for the war effort, I knit for the "peace effort" - I feel like I'm continuing in their tradition. We use the skills we have and do what we can to make the world better.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oh My Goddess!

I have been on another online treasure- hunting venture, this one inspired by the Buddhist Goddess, Guanyin/ Kwan Yin.  I actually wear a tiny, precious sterling silver figure of her on a sterling chain around my neck. It was what influenced me in the first place!

a treasury by m00ndr0ps

Kwan Yin is globally known to represent compassion, mercy and unconditional love. She is usually shown in a white flowing robe and usually wears necklaces of Indian/Chinese royalty. In the right hand is a water jar containing pure water, and the left holds a willow branch. Often depicted sitting on in a giant lotus blossom and also known as kuan-yin, Kannon (japanese) , Gwan-eum (korean), and Quan Âm (vietnamese).