To answer this question we have to distinguish two different nuances of the word “love.” One is an emotional feeling of affection that arises from my direct relationship to particular people. This type of love is not necessarily selfish and egotistical. It is not necessarily driven by an exchange principle, by the hope that others will return my affection and treat me kindly. I may sincerely love other people without hope of receiving anything in return – love them in appreciation of their good qualities and with a heartfelt wish for their well-being and happiness. But the primary basis for this love for the other is my direct connection with that person, and its robustness depends on regular contact. This type of love can range from self-centered attachment to family and friends to a deep devotion to those in my circle of friends and relatives that I admire for their outstanding qualities. What characterizes all shades of love in this sense is its contingency: it depends on circumstances and connections and is thus subject to change when the conditions that nourish it change.

The other type of love is not contingent on external conditions. It does not depend on direct personal contact. It does not even require that we actually like or admire the people toward whom this love is extended. This type of love is generated solely by recognizing other people as subjects, from seeing each person as a center of experience and thereby as the center of a world.

This type of love transcends the subject-object dichotomy that ordinarily structures our interpersonal relations. It emerges when, from the inner citadel of our own subjectivity, we see the other person as a subject and recognize that, as subjects, that person is similar to ourselves. This perception binds us together in a union of subjects, a union in which, no matter what we might feel about the other person as an individual, we recognize that this person, as a center of experience, is endowed with intrinsic value, a value that must be honored and protected.

To be a subject of experience is to seek one’s own welfare and happiness – not necessarily in a selfish and exclusive way but as an innate disposition of one’s being. As persons, we are each subjects of experience, and thus we each endeavor to avoid harm and suffering. Even more, at the bottom of our being we are disposed to grow and to thrive, to achieve security and happiness, and to realize our potentials, talents, and capabilities. Our quest for self-realization may be warped by distorted ideas about the nature of the good. We may be driven by greed and personal ambition, and in our quest for the good we may hurt others and deprive them of the good toward which they strive. But with a clear understanding of our own good, we would see that our own flourishing depends on the flourishing of others, that we thrive best when others also thrive. From this it follows that we have an obligation to avoid harming others and to help them along their way to achieving their own good.

The recognition of others as subjects means that we see in each person a reflection of ourselves. In doing so we relate to others as subjects who share our essential subjectivity. Since by introspection I can see that at the root of my being is a deep urge for the attainment of my own genuine good, I can know by inference – or better, by direct intuition – that every other person desires their own genuine good. When, through this intuitive contact, I appreciate and honor that desire, that need for the good, I will feel, rising from the depths of my heart, a wish for others to achieve the good they seek.

This wish for others to avoid harm and to attain the good is love in the second of the two senses I distinguished. It is love that responds to the moral injunction, “Love everyone without discrimination or qualifications,” or “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is love that is directed, not merely to particular persons, but to every human being (and perhaps to every sentient being) by virtue of their status as centers of subjective experience, and thereby as each the center of a world, of a unique perspective on the universe. The expression of this kind of love is the sense of solidarity, the sense that what affects each affects all and that the good of the others is also my own good.

Love in this sense issues in concern. It manifests as the concern that others may be exposed to harm and danger, crushed by suffering to a degree that will stifle their ability to grow and thrive, that will thwart their potentials for a meaningful and fulfilling life.

In responding to the injunction to extend love to everyone, we have two obligations. Our first obligation is to see that others are protected from harm, which requires that we do our best to provide them with the basic conditions for a life of meaning and purpose: a safe environment, sufficient nutritious food, shelter, and medical care in times of illness. Our second obligation is to help others to thrive. This does not mean that we can impose our own ideas of well-being upon them, but that we try to provide the conditions necessary for them to realize their own potentials in accordance with their own aspirations. Above all, this entails providing them with an education, with the knowledge that will awaken and nurture their capacities for intellectual enrichment and with the training that will enable them to enjoy a satisfactory standard of living.

The work of Buddhist Global Relief is inspired and sustained by this second type of love. We look upon people all around the world – people we will never meet, never see, never know – as essentially like ourselves, as human beings who wish to be free from harm and suffering, who wish to live with dignity and self-respect, but who face formidable barriers to realizing their goals. We recognize that the main obstacle blocking their path is poverty – poverty as manifested in food insecurity, in hunger, in poor health, in lack of education. We endeavor to help them rise above debilitating poverty, especially by freeing them from the ordeal of chronic hunger and malnutrition. Going beyond mere subsistence, we also seek to help them to thrive by providing them with education, to allow the light of knowledge and understanding to illuminate their minds. We see this not merely as the fulfillment of a duty, but as love in action, arising from the resonance of our own hearts to the pain and needs of others, subjects who are essentially like ourselves, each the center of a world.

Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families.


Bangladesh

FOOD SUPPORT FOR SCHOOL OF ORPHANS
Provide food supplies for 54 orphans for 12 months at The Orphan's Home in the rural Cittagong Hills region. »



 Bangladesh

EDUCATING ETHNIC MINORITY GIRLS
Provide Food Support for 106 ethnic Buddhist minority Girls at Yashodara Girl's School in Chttagong Hill Tracts. »  


Bangladesh

PERMANENT DORMITORY FOR BOY STUDENTS
Provide a permanent dormitory for 120 boys in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a poor area affected by conflict. » 

Burma (via Thailand)

EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN OF BACKPACK MEDICS
Support education for children of backpack health workers serving displaced Burmese villagers, students and refugees. »  

Cambodia

FOOD SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GIRLS TO STAY IN SCHOOL 
Support life-transforming Girls Access To Education (GATE) program ensuring girls stay in school. »

Cambodia

CATALYZING THE POTENTIAL OF GIRLS AT THE MARGIN
Provide scholarships and related assistance for young women in nursing and other schools. » 

Cambodia

RICE INTENSIFICATION AND TRAINING IN AGRO-ECOLOGY
Engage farmers in rice intensification program, cash crop cultivation, and other related programs. » 

Cameroon

JOB TRAINING FOR SINGLE MOTHERS
Provide practical vocational training for marginalized women and for single and teenage mothers. » 

Cameroon

A FOOD PROGRAM FOR POOR CHILDREN
Provide meals at school for over 95 poor and needy children in Ebase village. » 

Cote d'Ivoire

IMPROVED NUTRITION AMONG CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN
Decrease incidence of malnutrition in children especially in the first 1,000 days of life. » 

Haiti

SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM IN JACMEL
Provide at least one meal per day, six days a week for students, c. 360 meals per week. » 

Haiti

IMPROVED CROP PRODUCTION AND DIVERSIFICATION
Improve rice production & backyard vegetable gardening in recently flooded Artibonite Valley. »

Haiti

MEALS FOR HUNGRY KIDS IN PORT-AU-PRINCE
Provide between 500 and 750 life-sustaining meals to children every weekday in the Ti Plas Kazo Community. » 

Haiti

A SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN IN PORT-AU-PRINCE
Support for teacher's salaries, supplies, water, & computers for school providing quality education. » 

Haiti

SUPPORTING THE NUTRITION OF POOR CHILDREN
Help to give impoverished children two healthy meals daily, and support training workshops. » 

India

GIRL'S HOME AND WOMEN'S SOCIAL SERVICE CENTER
Sponsor education for 30 teenage girls in danger of not finishing school due to poverty. » 

India

PROSPERITY THROUGH RESILIENT AGRICULTURE
Improve resilience and income for smallholder farmers, especially women, in Uttar Pradesh. » 

India

NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT FOR GARDEN OF PEACE SCHOOL
Provide uniforms, books, transportation and food for students at Garden of Peace school. » 

Jamaica & Haiti

NUTRITIOUS MORNING MEALS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Provide nutritious morning meals for children prepared by local small businesses. » 

Kenya

IMPROVING MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Support proven programs that reach mothers, infants and children in need of food. » 

Kenya & Malawi

SUSTAINABLE MINI FARMING 
Training, especially for women, in biointensive farming to increase food production. » 

Nicaragua

EDUCATIONAL SPONSORSHIP OF GIRLS
Provide tuition, books, uniform with insignia and shoes, and some medical screening and treatment. » 

Sri Lanka

COMPUTER SKILLS FOR LOW INCOME GIRLS
Provide access to computer technology skills development for 60 girls from low-income families. » 

Sudan

HELPING FARMERS IN DARFUR
Address critical food insecurity with training and supplies for improved farming techniques. » 

U.S. Detroit, MI

URBAN FARMING IN DETROIT
Provide aid to 1500 urban gardens, including 400 new ones in 2017. Help sponsor 22 events . »

Vietnam

ENHANCED HOMESTEAD FOOD PRODUCTION
Train mulit-generational families to increase year-round food production improving nutrition. »

Vietnam

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION IN DAI TU DISTRICT
Introduce SRI to farmers to lower work burden and increase food production . »

Vietnam

MEALS FOR HOSPITAL PATIENTS IN TAM BINH HOSPITAL
Help to provide 500 vegetarian meals daily to hospital patients, total 182,000 meals per year. »

Vietnam

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR POOR CHILDREN in TAM BINH & CAM DUONG DISTRICTS
Help with fees, uniforms, books, and healthcare for over 400 K-12 students. »