One morning an elderly man was walking on a nearly deserted beach. He came upon a boy surrounded by thousands and thousands of starfish. As eagerly as he could, the youngster was picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean.
Puzzled, the older man looked at the young boy and asked, "Little boy, what are you doing?"
The youth responded without looking up, "I'm trying to save these starfish, sir."
The old man chuckled aloud, and queried, "Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?"
Holding a starfish in his hand, the boy turned to the man and, gently tossing the starfish into the water, said, "It will make a difference to that one!"
Several years ago I decided to try an experiment in awareness and empathy. I made a vow to consistently donate 10% of my income to help end suffering in this world. Every time I got a paycheck, or sold an artwork, I would move the decimal point over and donate that much (10%) towards a project I believed in. The internet made it easy. Feeling 'rich' enough to donate Something is an important part of this ongoing process/practice, ...because it has nothing to do with how we usually categorize ourselves. It's about becoming more aware of all we DO have and our place in the world. If you are somehow reading this on a computer somewhere, most likely you are 'phenomenally' rich in comparison to a vast population of humanity. One, you have somehow learned to read... and two, you have access to a computer and the internet. That is to say nothing about all the other things in your life that made it possible for you to be here now...the things we take for granted...like clean water, a roof over our heads, access to education and information, opportunities in general.I feel the 10% vow has changed my life in miraculous ways. It is something that must be understood from the inside and this is why I hope to encourage others to try it and see for themselves.
"Micro philanthropy affords each of us the opportunity to contribute to whatever need evokes within us a sense of compassion, and as a scalable phenomenon helps us to participate globally in celebrations and appreciations which can be a contagion of love, or an epidemic of health. Creating an infrastructure which allows a massive amount of small scale interaction can have an explosively powerful effect. A means of supporting micro philanthropy on a global scale could be one of the most powerful uses of Internet technology."- Tom Munnecke on Towards a Model of Micro Philanthropy
This journal is for posting stories and links to projects and charities that inspire you. I will share my own inspirations and experiences as I explore what the 10%vow means to me...and I invite others to join me in this experiment, Take the vow, and feel the changes in yourself. It is my dream to connect 1000 10%ers through the internet.
Avalokiteshvara requested "If I need to benefit all the sentient beings until samsara ends, may I have one thousand arms, and one thousand eyes. May these one thousand arms manifest as a thousand universal monarchs, and the one thousand eyes manifest as a thousand Buddhas". Buddha Amitabha granted him his wish with one thousand arms and one thousand eyes, each eye in the palm of each hand.
You are part of that wish.
Be the Change you want to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi