By Brother Pháp Lưu in June 2016
Have you been involved with the Wake Up movement and you’d like to learn how to become even more active? The following describes what it means to be a Wake Up Ambassador, how to become one, and what to do next.
WHAT IS A WAKE UP AMBASSADOR?
The term “Wake Up Ambassador” was coined during Wake Up’s early development, when a group of monastics and Wake Up members were discussing whether to call active Wake Up members “leaders.” Brother Phap Luu wrote the following letter describing the distinction between a leader and an ambassador.
Since Thay’s vision for us is to become a leaderless community that embodies interbeing, we decided to call ourselves Wake Up Ambassadors. Ambassadors also can facilitate communication within Wake Up. In this case, their “native country” can be their local Sangha or a geographic area. They can relay information between their Sangha and Sanghas in other parts of the world. This gives Sanghas the chance to learn and grow from collective wisdom.
HOW DO I BECOME AN AMBASSADOR?
Anyone who wants to be an Ambassador can be one! Ambassadors are whole-hearted and motivated to nourish, strengthen, and build Sangha because they know it nourishes themselves and others. Though “Ambassador” is a self-appointed title, the following points may help you see if this flower is blooming in yourself. A Wake Up Ambassador …
• Regularly attends Sangha in the Plum Village tradition (a Wake Up Sangha or an all-ages Sangha), and/or regularly visits a Plum Village practice center.
• Takes refuge in the Sangha and aspires to nourish, strengthen, or build Sangha for the sake of their own happiness and the happiness of others.
• Has received or aspires to receive transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings; regularly contemplates the trainings and reflects on how to use them as a mirror, supportive friend, or guiding star in daily practice.
• Is joyful and happy to be a part of Wake Up, and wants to help create unity and harmony by facilitating communication within Wake Up and with the greater community.
To learn more, please visit wkup.org/wake-up-ambassador. We look forward to connecting with you!
Wake Up is an active global community of young mindfulness practitioners, aged 18-35, inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. We come together to practice mindfulness in order to take care of ourselves, nourish happiness, and contribute to building a healthier and more compassionate society.
“… When we created the Wake Up Ambassadors, … there were many heartfelt discussions about the use of the term ‘leader,’ which would be the natural term in the world for those who are taking a more active role in the Wake Up community. We knew, from experience in the monastic community, that such a designation tends to bring about pride and arrogance. That’s why we always speak of facilitating Dharma sharing, rather than leading it. We don’t have an executive committee who runs the hamlet for the abbot; we have a Care-Taking Committee. Even the abbot is not a leader but someone who helps to take care of the brothers. We don’t ever refer to him as a leader. Actually, Thay does not and has not used that term, to my knowledge, when speaking about himself or about anyone in the monastic or lay Sangha.
It was out of that insight that the term ‘ambassadors’ was suggested, as it suggests someone who gives counsel to help bring about understanding and reconciliation. It also may help avoid developing a hierarchy of leaders and the implied followers that they are leading. An ambassador … is someone who truly lives an engaged life of reconciliation. In a quiet and often humble way, they facilitate communication between their native country (the country of Wake Up?) and the foreign, sometimes hostile, and busy country in which they have to live every day (society).
Anyone can decide to be an ambassador. As soon as they actively bring the practices of Wake Up/Plum Village into their lives, they are already bringing about reconciliation in themselves and to those around them. I am concerned that many who do not consider themselves as leaders, but who are doing amazing things for Wake Up in their personal sphere, may feel excluded or put off by such a title as ‘Wake Up Leaders.’”
– Brother Phap Luu (Brother Stream), March 4, 2015