Saturday, September 06, 2003

A while back I mailed something to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship mail list concerning the new upwelling of collaborative solutions for homelessness, and got a fairly substantial suggestion (shortened here; it had nothing to do with buddhism or alternative thinking per se).

to, "Bernard D. Tremblay" wrote:
> > "Facing rising health care costs, and a shortage of affordable
> > housing, some people in Washington, DC are coming
> > together to form cooperatives.

JFN replied
> Since this morning, I have come up with two versions of a
> first approximation of a plan which could accomplish much in this
> area.
> There are people putting shipping containers on forest properties as
> cabins - and they meed building codes.


> In general, since families with quite low incomes could afford to own
> outright shipping container housing, they would be able to continue
> onward without haveng to pay rent.So something like this might be
> considered by low income families.
> ***To leave not a single being twisting in the wind***

Here's the reply I sent to the Buddhist group list:

So heartening, to find the question engaging someone! I needed that just now.

A short reply, as my supper cooks, to capture the multiple aspects of my
reaction. (Hoping to reply with regards to specifics directly to you very

I find myself wondering where a sub-group of sangha such as BPF fits in the
scenario of societal collapse and environmental degredation ... once upon a
time it was the monastic sangha's responsibility to inform administrators of
proper concerns.

The degree to which you've developed your idea is I think representative of
how people of good will can synthesize. Self-interest, the good of others;
"enlightened" self-interest ... when we are healthy and oriented to the
actualities of our space and the others who inhabit it, the product of our
thought will necessarily be at least a step towards beneficial development;
the process of implementation, of actually and really taking those sane steps
... can there be a better form of practice?

I find it entirely appropriate that individuals who've investigated
abhidharma, even if only theoretically, should derive partial solutions that
are in any number of ways beneficial; perhaps our tentative efforts reveal a
faulty assumption or or bring to light some deep-seated predisposition, or
perhaps they will revisit some concept that has been overlooked or ignored.
What are the consequences of action, and what determines those consequences
... doesn't the dharma equip us to know the dynamics of co-emergence
im-mediately and intimately?

The proposals you've made here strike me as very problematic at a technical
level, and terrifically interesting as a plausible project!! "Habitat for
Humanity" is a responsible organization, and has taken a very different tack.
I know there was some activity with a slightly similar tactic in Toronto,
where there was a sudden need to provide short-term shelter.
But I'm not sure that BPF is the forum for discussing the logistics and
socio/economic aspects of this. [nuts&bolts reply to James Newell sent

(Is anyone familiar with _Sarvodaya Sramadana_ in Sri Lanka? It was a
paradigm of alternative thinking in the early 70s. And what of Paolo Friere,
has his "non-patronizing" thinking evaporated?)

Given my own context, and hovering thoughts concerning the social construct
of currency and its alienating effects (we forego the social good in order to
optimize ROI and maximize profit, and then use financial gains to procure the
good ... with devestating effects on the fabric of our communities and our
ecology / environment!) I'm very attentive to the group's response to this.

Does the BPF concern itself directly with matters of lodging? with the
personal aspects of ambition and possessiveness? with the peculiar (and to my
way of thinking, pathological) appetite for and clinging to privacy?

*The koan arises naturally in daily life.*

The stormy waves of life, disease, old-age, and death ... the richly complex
tableaux of our lives ... can I allow my acquisitive tendency to distract me
from this? Shouldn't that tendency and others like it be my objects of

> ***To leave not a single being twisting in the wind***

Yes, yes!! Just so! /That/ smacks of bodhicitta and loving-kindness to me!
(I'm surely not the only person to have had Fudo as well as Manjusri and
Kanzeon on the shrine?)

Technology based on a narrow use of Newtonian science is characterised by its
reductiveness ... complexity attends to edge cases and border conditions, as
would a sane and healthy community.

thanks to you
regards to all

p.s. the more I ponder it, the more it seems to me that communal life
(neither yogin monastic nor "nuclear family" householder ... sannyasin?) is
both the practice and the solution.

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