Flowing Dharma, Inc. is a non-profit, publicly-funded, 501(c)3 organization. Our commitment is to serve the Dharma in whatever ways present themselves while deepening our own Spiritual practice and cultivating lovingkindness, compassion and generosity. We have taken on a number of exciting and rewarding projects in our 15-year history while all the while supporting the greater Buddhist community. Over the years, we expanded our involvement beyond Tampa Bay (where we were first established), into the third world (Mexico, Peru, Africa, Thailand) and beyond the Buddhist community (Shamanism and other indigenous spiritual practices).
Based in Louisville, Kentucky since 2013, Flowing Dharma provides community support for the cultivation of meditation practices from the Buddhist, Christian Mystical and other Non-Dual traditions. The current focus is on bringing mindfulness meditation and other life-enhancing meditative practices to the greater Louisville community. We have a special interest in supporting non-profit service organizations who work with marginalized segments of our society as well as progressive Christian organizations.
For many years Flowing Dharma brought respected meditation teachers from across the country into Tampa Bay to share their understanding of the Dharma in residential retreats. Many folks had their first taste of Dharma at the Franciscan Center where many of these retreats were held. We also provided meeting space at the Lotus Room for a number of Buddhist groups during their early development stage and co-sponsored fundraisers and outreach programs with a number of local organizations. We continue this tradition in Louisville, bringing gifted teachers here for retreats as well as supporting others in their efforts to bring the wisdom of the Dharma to our community.
Between 2008 and 2012, our key officers (John Shealy and Jordan Dye) lived and volunteered in the developing world. First for seven months in Peru and Ecuador where they supported a 10-day donation-only meditation retreat in Lima. With the generous financial support of the Tampa Buddhist community, were able to assist a small school in Peru (learn more) where indigenous children are taught traditional non-dual practices. The year before, a meditation center in a small town in Mexico was supported in hosting a Flowing Dharma retreat. More recently, while serving with the US Peace Corps in Swaziland, Africa, John and Jordan were able to offer their time and Flowing Dharma's financial support to several 10-day donation-only mediation courses at a retreat center in South Africa. Living and serving in these third-world countries led to a broadening of our definition of community and the role of Dharma service. These experiences proved to be seeds of change and growth for this organization.
In September 2012, Jordan completed her third year in Peace Corps, where she had engaged in a number of community development projects and supported the activities of a local meditation group. John completed his PC service in September of 2011 and sat and served meditation courses at a center near Cape Town, South Africa. In January, he headed to Thailand and sat and served at five different Vipassana meditation centers while backpacking around the country with short stays in Cambodia and Laos. (visit our "Two Going Forth" blog for photos and stories from these wonderful travels).
Our Peace Corps experience was like a graduate program in sustainable community development. One lesson that was driven home repeatedly was "if the goal is sustainability, help first those who have already found a way of helping themselves." We learned that a dollar goes much further, both in developing countries and in America, when efficient organizations are supported. When care is taken to support only worthwhile, sustainable projects, there can be an excellent return on investment. Financial support of such worthwhile projects is made possible by the generous donations of individuals who recognize the value of this type of community development work. While still in Africa, we posted a blog on this topic that you might find interesting.
As we settled into Louisville, we found a host of organizations that are doing a good job of sharing the Dharma (Buddhist or other wisdom traditions). And there are many community-minded groups and individuals who are in need of support of one kind or another. We feel blessed to have been called here and are feeling welcomed and supported at every turn. We appreciate the many opportunties for supporting our community with our time, energy as well as the resources made possible through the financial support of Flowing Dharma.
• Share and support the Dharma (mindfulness meditation, non-dual/mystic and related teachings from all of the wisdom traditions) through encouragement and funding of existing organizations that are actively engaged in this effort.
• Provide support for the sharing of emerging Integral practices that bring together wisdom from the East and West. Currently, this is taking the form of offering Integral Mondo Zen retreats while supporting the larger Integral Zen Sangha and the local Hollow Bones Sangha.
• Encourage those offering mindfulness meditation programs, hatha yoga and other activities that promote a balanced mind and a healthy lifestyle - necessary foundations for anyone pursuing a spiritual path.
• Support local sanghas and their activities in whatever ways that we are able - marketing and financial support.
• Engage in community outreach efforts to provide mindfulness meditation training to marginalized groups, individuals and the non-profit organizations that serve them.
Recent Activities (2012 - 2016):
• Established and facilitated Integral Zen - Louisville Sangha, a weekly sitting and practice for experienced meditators. The foundation was Integral Zen and we gathered together for over a year.
• Sponsored two 3-day Integral Zen Retreats with Ingrid Onyru Bamberg at Earth & Spirit Center.
• Donationed 5 meditation cushions (zafus) to Earth & Spirit Center (+/- $200).
• Purchased 8 meditation cushions (zafus) and 6 sitting pads (zabutons) for use by our Integral Zen Louisville Sangha (+/- $700).
• Purchased instruments to support our practice during retreats: a small kesu meditation gong, an inkin, clappers and a mokugyo. (+/- $300). You'll need to attend a 7-day retreat to really get a feel for how these instruments deepen the meditation container. You can find a retreat here.
• Offered free introduction to Mindfulness programs (60 - 90 minutes) with: New Albany City Jail, KY Men's State Prison, two homeless shelters and a women's shelter in Louisville (no $ involved in these activities).
• Made small donations ($10-20) to a several meditation groups and teachers in Louisville (+/- $300 total).
Goals for 2017:
• Offer core mindfulness training to members of non-profit organizations, churches and progressive political groups who are interested in bringing mindfulness into their community work and their personal lives. ($2 -5K for renting space, marketing, refreshments and supplies).
• Become actively involved in supporting organizations and individuals who provide services to refugees, immigrants and other marginalized groups in the greater Louisville community but most especially those living and working in the South End and in West Louisville. ($1 -5K)
• Provide support for the establishment and development of a local Hollow Bones Renzai Zen Sangha.
• Help organize and staff a 3-day (Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon) residential Integral Mondo Zen retreat with Hollow Bones staff through MPK USA to be held March 2 - 5, 2017. Click here for info.
• Continue to support the larger meditation community in the Louisville by providing a monthly "Meditation in Louisville" newsletter (click to sign up).
Donations for 2017:
• donated a meditation bell, package of incense and a book on sharing mindfulness with children and youth to an organization that targets at-risk african american teenage girls, providing a rewarding camp experience for them. This organization also engages in the national camp community to educate around issues of bias, racism, inclusion, empowerment and mindfulness practices (+/- $150).
Our Thanks and Blessings to you.
John Shealy & Jordan Dye