Wake Up: Young Buddhists and non-Buddhists for a Healthy and Compassionate Society
Wake Up is a community of young Dharma practitioners who want to help their society – a society overloaded with intolerance, discrimination, craving, anger and despair.
Their practice is the Five Mindfulness Trainings, ethical guidelines offered by the Buddha – the most concrete practice of true love and compassion. They clearly show the way towards a life in harmony with each other and with the Earth. If you are a young practitioner you are encouraged to join the Wake Up movement in your country. We may feel anger and frustration when we see the environmental degradation caused by our society, and we feel despair because as individuals we don’t seem to be strong enough to change our way of life. Wake Up offers us a way to pool our energy and act in synchrony. Let us get together and form a Wake Up group in our own town. Our collective practice will surely bring transformation and healing to individuals and society. Let us get in touch with young practitioners from Plum Village, both monastic and lay, to get more support and information.
Buddhism needs to be recognized as a source of wisdom, a long tradition of the practice of understanding and love and not just of devotion. The spirit of the Dharma is very close to the spirit of science; both help us cultivate an open and non-discriminating mind. You can join the Wake Up Movement as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, an agnostic or an atheist. The practice of maitri, of loving kindness, the practice of sisterhood and brotherhood, is at the foundation of the Dharma.
When members of the Wake Up Community come together they like to hang out and connect with each other. They listen to a Dharma teaching, participate in a Dharma sharing, recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings and do sitting and walking meditation. The practice helps them to release the tension in their bodies and their feelings, to live more deeply and enjoy more each moment of their daily lives, and to use compassionate listening and loving speech to help restore communication and reconcile with other people, and help others in society to do the same.
Dharma sharings help us to share our practice with each other, to deepen our understanding of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, and to find more appropriate ways to apply them right away in our daily lives. In this way, we are changing society in the direction of compassion and harmony. Together we can discover many concrete ways to help, such as:
• offering guided relaxation sessions to our classmates before exams
• organizing regular sessions of sitting, walking and eating meditation with our friends – at home, in parks or public spaces
• learning to handle our stress, anger, fear and depression so we can offer joy, happiness and wisdom to our friends and society
• bringing mindfulness practices to the worlds of activism, social work and healthcare
• consuming in a way that reduces suffering and pollution and helps save our planet – such as eating as vegan as possible
• actively caring for our immediate environment – such as organizing clean-ups of beaches and planting trees
• promoting Car-Free Days where we are
• organizing and facilitating Deep Ecology workshops to help us wake up to the situation of the planet
• creating organic vegetable gardens in our backyards and cities
• working together with local charities to help those in need, and
• supporting aid projects in the developing world
Members of the Wake Up Community can also organize camps and retreats so that many others, young and less young, can come and share the practice of joyful and mindful living, and so we can all nourish ourselves through contact with nature.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings encourage everyone to live in such a way that our planet Earth will be able to survive for a long time. These Trainings are the foundation of the lives of the members of the Wake Up Movement and represent their ideal of service. Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight are the energies we cultivate through our practice and that can bring about tolerance, non-discrimination, understanding and compassion.
In the last three decades, Plum Village has helped to train many young people in Europe, North America and Asia in this way. Now it is possible to set up Wake Up groups in each town and country. Please share with us in Plum Village what you are planning to do and what you are trying to achieve. We shall do our best to support you.