Buddhist Action Month (BAM) takes place each year in June and is an opportunity to reach out and engage with friends or local communities in ways that we may not be able to do for the most part during the year. ‘BAM’ is an invitation for one month to take part and get involved in actions that express our care and concern for our planet and our environment – for all living beings that exist on it – in a practical way.

This year we have an invitation to explore two particular angles with the theme Transforming self, Transforming world.

Join us for BAM 2018 to help raise awareness, to share and discuss concerns, hopes and ideals, and to put into action concrete steps that help advance a positive vision for the future – whether within our local communities or the global community!

Transforming Self relates to concerns regarding the effect of digital technologies on the well-being of individuals and society. Whilst the technology itself is neutral it’s easy to get absorbed by a screen eclipsing our awareness of others, of the moment, of our surroundings and obscuring our clarity of mind. Social media’s double-edge both creates connections and breaks them.

We are invited to take June to evaluate our relationship to screens and technology and share our experiences. How you do this is up to you. You may choose to observe how much time you actually spend on in front of screens and how this leaves you feeling. As emerging evidence reveals the addictive quality of our technologies issuing little dopamine hits you could consider the question “who is in charge here: me or the screen?”

Transforming World asks us to engage with the bigger picture and consider what kind of world we wish to inhabit. The 21st Century urgently needs a new myth. To move to a less destructive and more inclusive future we need to develop ideas of what that might look like. We are asked to use June to envisage with fierce precision the world we wish to inhabit, to create a clear simple narrative about what we want.

What does a bright, abundant and happy future look like? What aspects of the world today do you appreciate, or what do you miss from the past? What would you like for yourself, and for future generations? I invite you to spend time creating a vision and share it with others.

Events at Leeds Buddhist Centre in June will support the theme and I hope the friendliness of our sangha will support you in sharing your observations with technology and your visions for the future.

We are also hoping to advertise activities happening in the local area or as a wider concern that I feel tie in with the theme. The purpose of this is to give ideas that might interest and inspire.

Last year’s pledge board proved very popular and so we are doing it again. You may wish to pledge to do one new thing, once or do something for the whole month, somewhere in between or something completely different. Anonymously sharing your pledges on the notice board at the centre helps give others ideas and generates fantastic conversations.