Spiritual Activism

Bring the dharma into your daily life as an engaged Buddhist*. You can work with one of the IMCW-sponsored programs, or join Good Works, partnering with charitable organizations in the D.C. metro area.

To Get Involved

Click on the Contact link of the program you're interested in, and email the contact for more information. They'll be delighted to hear from you!

* A term coined by Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Engaged Buddhism offers many opportunities to respond to the world mindfully and compassionately, helping create social, political, environmental and economic justice and peace.
Contact:North American Buddhist Alliance

This is an online home for a multi-racial, cross-tradition, Buddhist response to racism. We invite you to  commit  to actively work towards ending racism. We hope you will then reflect on your personal and community engagement, and explore how this work can become an ongoing part of your Dharma practice.

Location:DC/Metro Area Chapter
Contact:Alexandra Arbogast

Dharma Voices for Animals (DVA) is an organization of those committed both to practicing the teachings of the Buddha (the Dharma) and to speaking out when animal suffering is supported by the actions of those in Dharma communities and by the policies of Dharma centers.

While DVA recognizes the challenges of living in a complex, modern society, we wish to promote the choices that provide the greatest reduction of animal suffering. It is our intention to be inclusive in honoring the different views of those who sincerely intend to minimize the suffering of animals.

For more information about DVA and to learn about local meetings and activities, please email Alexandra Arbogast.

Vegan Resouces

Location:IMCW Center for Mindful Living, 4708 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Contact:Carolyn Stachowski

Insight on the Inside (IOI) is a program sponsored by Insight Meditation Community of Washington, encouraging the practice of generosity and compassion through volunteer work in correctional facilities. Volunteers teach mindfulness practices to   men and women who are incarcerated and to those transitioning from incarceration into their communities. Currently Insight on the Inside teaches fifteen classes in Montgomery and Arlington Counties, the District of Columbia, reaching about 150 people a week.

IOI volunteers meet monthly for training and program planning under the guidance of IMCW teacher, Carolyn Stachowski.

Insight on the Inside welcomes inquiries into volunteer positions.

Volunteer teachers are vetted based on an established sitting and retreat practice, and a desire to deepen their practice. They are also asked to commit to increasing their awareness of social conditions that result in racism and sexism and to no longer be complicit with these conditions. 

In addition teaching, there are other ways to support our work including help with fundraising, administrative support, and making donations of books or money.

Please see their website at https://www.insightontheinside.com/.

Insight on the Inside volunteers. (Photo by Danuta Otfinowski.)

Location:D.C. area
Contact:Dave Trachtenberg

Many of you are already aware of how meditation and mindfulness can deeply transform our lives and help us find peace, joy and well-being in life. If these profound teachings and practices are to address the great social suffering of our society and world and help us live with greater wisdom and compassion, there is probably no more important area to put attention than bringing the practices of mindfulness and compassion into our schools. Programs to bring mindfulness into schools have had a significant impact on student absences, suspensions, attention-skills, and behavior.

IMCW is working with Minds, Inc. a program to help bring mindfulness to schools in the greater Washington area. Please contact us for more information and to get involved.

Location:DC Metro area
Contact:Kristin Barker

One Earth Sangha is a project of IMCW with a global focus. Its mission is to bring the essential wisdom and practices from the Buddhist tradition to collective engagement on critical ecological crises. We believe that activism is more effective and sustainable when grounded in mindfulness and compassion and that social engagement is an essential part of the spiritual path. We bring these two forces, and their corresponding communities, together through teachings, community building and mindful action.

Learn more and get involved at www.OneEarthSangha.org.

Location:Washington, DC
Contact:Geoff Maxson
Description: Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship is an organization that has recently begun a new focus, to bring more awareness to the issue of climate change. Climate change and world peace are two issues that are very intricately linked, since the availability of resources is the cause of so much violence in our world. Food and eating are such large causes of carbon emissions (which lead to climate change) that WBPF has chosen to focus on bringing more mindfulness to food issues.

You can help us brainstorm ideas on how to bring more mindful consumption techniques to the lives of the IMCW sangha, the general Buddhist community, and the larger community as a whole. Come to our next meeting! We will discuss organizing and actions to take to bring mindful consumption to our communities.

Location:Washington, DC
Contact:Eleanor Hancock
Description: White Awake designs and maintains educational resources and spiritual practices that help white people increase our understanding of racism, and work with others in the creation of a just and sustainable society. White Awake emphasizes mindful awareness, spiritual practice, respect for individual experience and wisdom, and the reality that we are all learning.