Generosity is the lifeblood of any Buddhist community and service (veyyāvacca) is among the greatest gifts one can give to the community. You can think of Sitagu Buddha Vihara as a small village, with substantial facilities – housing, infrastructure, power, water, wireless connectivity and other utilities, roads, gardens, public and sacred spaces, a public library, a business office, bills to pay, repairs to be made – and with many functions – teaching classes, leading retreats, publishing, public service activities, pastoral care, and all of it running with virtually no paid staff and nor source of earnings. For this reason volunteer labor is vital and a source of great merit. This is also one of the best ways to get involved with the vihara and to begin to feel like an owner rather than like a customer.
- Landscaping. Weeding and watering are ongoing needs and can be fit into anyone’s schedule. We also have occasional major projects each of which can occupy many volunteers for a half day or a day. Please contact Ven. Buddhanana to schedule work times.
- Mary House. We receive abundant food donations for the monks. Once or twice a week we bring excess food to the Mary House, a Catholic Worker organization that cares for the homeless. This is an opportunity for a driver. Please contact Ven. Cintita about this.
- Publicity. Our vihara is a little-known secret, often discovered by visitors by accident. We would like to grow our public profile so that others might be aware of what we have to offer, but have no one actively engaged in this. This is a good opportunity for someone with experience in marketing or public relations, or who is media savy. Contact Ven. Cintita about this.
- Social outreach. The Sitagu Association in Myanmar is known for its extensive social service projects, from health care and disaster relief to support for education. Although we do some fund raising for disaster relief and some interfaith work here in Austin, we are eager to hear from people who would like to engage in other areas, such as prison work, enviromental activism, social justice issues, etc. With sufficient interest we might begin to organize programs around these topics. Contact Ven Cintita.
- Monthly cleaning day. A group of Burmese devotees, called the Vesakha group, convenses here once a month jointly to clean the public areas of the monaster: dusting, sweeping and mopping, etc. At one time we also had a second, Western group, called the Dhammesaka group, that did the same. We seek volunteers to reestablish the Western group.
- Sewing meditation cushions. We are in need of more meditation cushions. We have an abundant supply of the large flat cushions on which people perch and much foam rubber for making more, but a spotty assortment of smaller cushions. Someone might want to undertake sewing smaller cushions, maybe Japanese-style zafus, or covers for the foam rubber material we already have.
- Services for overwhelmed Burmese monks. Although all of our monks speak English, our Burmese and foreign monks often need help navigating public services, like immigration or drivers licenses. Many are also interested in improving their English. This is a good opportunity for bonding with the monks.
- Editing and translation. The monks, esp. Ven Cintita, do some publication in English and we are always in need of proof readers and editors. Ven. Cintita would like to offer his introductory text Buddhist Life/Buddhist Path in other languages, particularly Spanish.
Please inquire with Ven. Cintita (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you might be interested in volunteering.