I can’t recall exactly when it happened, but at some point in my childhood, I realized I tended to be selfish. Perhaps it had to do with growing up as an only child, or maybe it runs deeper. To be honest, it wasn’t something that bothered or concerned me until I discovered the Dharma. I was a teenager (with all the experiences that come with it) and began questioning myself if I wanted to be that kind of person—putting my needs above others and only thinking about myself.

I learned that one of the best ways to soften this egotistical tendency is through service and generosity. Gradually, service became an ideal nestled in my heart, which has, in many ways (with all its imperfections), formed the bedrock of my life as a Buddhist practitioner. While there are countless ways to give and be generous to the world, I chose to serve through Dharma service. Undoubtedly, it constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone, as I don’t possess that outgoing and sociable disposition many others do. However, I believe there is value in what I do, and I give it my best.

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I am fortunate enough to live my life grounded in this lofty ideal: I am part of the Toluca Buddhist Centre team, I support the Ordination process in Latin America, I have had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Sangha in Brazil, forging connections with women there, and recently, I started working as the International Communications Officer. That I can commit all my time to Triratna (and thereby, Dharma service), in one way or another, is the result of the generosity of many individuals, including those who, through Future Dharma Fund, enable others like me to invest our energy, time, and inspiration in it.

I am privileged to witness the functioning of various structures within our beautiful Order at many levels. Locally, being at the Buddhist Centre allows me to witness the growth of a Sangha, forming close bonds with those seeking refuge. Working in the Centre is my greatest source of inspiration and faith, reminding me that what I do is important in other people lives, despite the challenges. FutureDharma donors, through their support, have enabled us not only to sustain our team when the pandemic began but also to acquire suitable equipment to create an online Sangha that is now spread across different parts of the country, practicing Dharma and truly feeling part of our community. How wonderful it is to have this outreach and offer this gift to those beyond our city! 

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I also benefited from the support given to Brazil to visit their community, and we had the chance to conduct a retreat solely for women, something that hadn’t happened in over 10 years and was the first experience of its kind for most Brazilian women. Creating this international connection, transcending language and culture to connect with the humanity that binds us, is incredibly valuable. 

This leads me to my current role in Communications, which is also largely supported by FutureDharma donors. I genuinely believe our Order is something precious, that we have much to offer to the world. For this to happen, we need to support those who keep Triratna’s internal structure functioning, and also contribute with our time and energy if possible. Sometimes it’s not comfortable! In my own experience, constantly serving others means feeling my comfort zone shrink and being pushed out of my preferences, doing things that scare me, grappling with my deepest insecurities, and feeling small. But it also makes me stronger, more capable, and a little less selfish.

Con metta, Bodhikámala

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