What to Look Forward to This Year

Raymond Lam

Our BDG contributors and columnists, our Tea House bloggers, and I wish you a very happy new year (both Gregorian and Lunar!), and all the best of health and happiness for 2017.

As I’m writing this, Donald Trump has moved into the Oval Office, fresh off his inauguration ceremony as president of the US. At Davos, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, unveiled a new vision of China’s leadership role as a fulcrum of stability and maturity in an unstable world. Theresa May is preparing for the UK’s greatest peacetime challenge in a generation: the act of leaving the EU. The world waits with bated breath for whatever will rapidly follow on from these landmark events. Few other periods in human history have been more interesting (be it exciting or frightening) to live in.

One question we are always asking ourselves as Buddhists is, “What does it mean to practice Dharma in today’s world?” This question is an effectively theological one, one that tries to discern what the Buddhist message means for our global community and its diverse societies in 2017. The need for creative exploration of the human condition is more important than ever, in my opinion. Stories help us gain empathy, tales of other people, even (or especially) when fictional, force us to acknowledge that other people, other lifeworlds, exist. And empathy has always been central to the Buddhist path of cultivating compassion and working with suffering and human weakness.

On the Tea House front, you can expect more nourishment of the heart and mind as we move bravely and compassionately into the new year. In 2017 we’ll continue our creative focus on Buddhist writing, from prose like Nina Müller’s short stories to Buddhist poetry from Steve Braff. We’re even bringing in aspects of art writing via Grace Ko and the photojournalism of our New Light Dreams blog from Craig Lewis. It’s our hope that this surge of Buddhist-themed creativity . As Ethan Nichtern, a teacher in the Shambhala tradition, noted in a Tweet: “Hopefully this is the era when the stereotype of the disengaged Buddhist dies.”

Do you have stories to tell? Do you want to share a voice of creative spirituality and Dharma with us? Write us a message at [email protected] and I would be delighted to know your thoughts and see what tales you might have to tell as well!

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