Everybody knows the state of the American economy is pitiful; you don't need me to tell you that, and I won't go into detail about that at all. Read Barry Ritholtz and Paul Krugman; they're far more specialized on that end. Krugman, in particular, has been so right on how the economy would play out it's scary - and profitable.
So in these uncertain economic times, what do you think some of les bêtes noires de l'Amérique du bouddhisme might be doing?
Well, the Frederick Lenz foundation is having some kind of "Grantee Conference"...
Through the Soul of Money Institute, the Foundation has constructed for the benefit of each of its grantees, a $200,000+ fundraising and good business practice training program presented through a series of four webinars, two workshops and a Foundation conference all scheduled between June, 2010 and September, 2011. In these difficult economic times, raising money and effectively implementing the program for which the funds have been raised is most challenging. As the Foundation's economic resources have become more limited as a consequence of the economic downturn, the Foundation has taken some of its precious grant dollars to create this program, run by the experts at the Soul of Money, to enable the Foundation's grantees to become more self-sufficient through effective fundraising and use of sound business practices. As part of this program, our grantees will be given the tools and opportunity to improve their fundraising strategies and expand fundraising results so that each is moving toward long-term financial viability and organizational wellbeing. Less dependency on our Foundation's continuing support of existing grantees will allow the Foundation to increase the circle of its grant partners to embrace new qualified organizations which may be in need of funds to advance American Buddhism in line with the Foundation's vision and mission statements.
As part of this grant program, four of the Foundation's grantees (Zen Hospice Project, Big Mind, Zen Peacemakers and Peace on the Street) have been selected for intensive one-on-one training and consultation. For all of those which participate, the goal is to enable each organization to construct and implement, before our September, 2011 conference, a fundraising campaign suitable and unique to its needs and mission, and to do so in the context of sound organizational business practices, never losing sight of the spiritual foundations upon which each organization is based. The difference in training between the four organizations which will receive the intensive training, and the rest of the group, is that the four will end up with a custom-designed fundraising plan, and the balance will have created one of their own with the tools provided as part of the course. Both groups will share their experiences and learning at the Foundation's 2011 Fall Conference where The Soul of Money Institute and their team of experts, under the direction of Lynne Twist, will conduct a weekend workshop, private consultation for any grantee desiring a session, and present a summary of what we and our grant partners have achieved together. You will find on our Foundation's website (www.fredericklenzfoundation.org) a video link to Lynne's presentation at our Fall 2009 Conference, which serves as an introduction to this new grant program.
Hmmm...."our grantees will be given the tools and opportunity to improve their fundraising strategies and expand fundraising results so that each is moving toward long-term financial viability and organizational wellbeing." I'm reminded of a bit by Al Franken (mutated by me, of course) in one of his books...something like getting mental health counseling from Charles Manson or something like that, although to be fair, I'm referring to the Frederick Lenz Foundation, not the "Soul of Money Institute." I suppose Ms. Lynne Twist is doing good work in places, more or less, albeit a bit more New Agey than my taste allows. But that link is a fancy way of saying that some of the too-close-to-the-Board for my taste folks hired her to, ummm...have her give a workshop/presentations on um...how some of the grantees (Big Mind?) is to make money so, ...um...not to get it from the Frederick Lenz Foundation? Really? Can't they pony up funds to do that themselves?
Of course Lenz's Foundation really never explained itself, in terms that make sense to someone like me who regularly has to deal with ethical issues, conflict of interest issues, and the like in the course of one's business life, but, then, I'm just a simple Buddhist blogger.
Maybe Ken Wilber's on to something better...
The Dharma is free. No one should charge money for teaching or transmitting Dharma. Dharma that touches money is no dharma at all. Selling the Dharma—there is a root of all evil. The Dharma offered freely and without charge to all who seek it: there is purity, nobility, an honorable disposition.
I admit I only scanned the rest of that link...he tosses around Nagarjuna in a way that makes me cringe...OK, here's what I did read...
The Nondual traditions thus began a counsel, not of renunciation and purification (merely Ascending), but rather of transformation and transmutation: the five poisons are one with the five wisdoms (e.g., one enters anger with Emptiness in order to discover the wisdom of clarity at its base). The defilements, just as they are, are expressions of primordial awareness, and thus are not renounced, but rather are self-liberated, just as they are, into their own primordial Purity. Samsara is no longer the main obstruction to Spirit, it is the perfect display of Spirit's creative and compassionate activity, and is to be treated as such.
This Nondual path, of course, is open to its own pitfalls (which are legion), but the basic re-orientation is obvious: it is no longer a matter, for example, of sexual abstinence, but of appropriate sexuality as spiritual expression. And no longer woman as evil, but woman as co-equal manifestation of the Divine.
You can guess what follows; I guess what follows...it's OK to be avaricious if your heart's in the right place or so. I guess. I couldn't really go on; too much name dropping and absurd historical sweep for my taste. Which, I guess is why (note: this link is obviously time sensitive!) "Integral Life" looks rather "business-y" these days. With titles "The Five Literacies of Global Leadership," "Deep Design and Brand Resonance," "The Art of Tribal Leadership," and "Enlightened Business Practices" I get the feeling that Wilber might be a bit jealous Tony Robbins or Ken Blanchard or some such ilk. Maybe he's sad 'cause he's not in TED.
Too bad for Wilber. However, the Karmapa's on TED, and so, let me put him on to close. I'll take the Karmapa any day over the previously mentioned...