Rooted in compassion

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NalandaWest volunteers are deepening their roots of compassion by continuing to help prepare and serve Friday Feast, a restaurant-quality meal offered every Friday night to Seattle’s homeless youth at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. Answering the call to compassionate action made by the 17th Karmapa in his May visit to Seattle, the volunteers first worked on Friday Feast with Venerable Pannavati, who was teaching a weekend workshop at NalandaWest. The enthusiastic volunteers returned to ROOTS on Oct. 16. Once again, they found the evening to be lively, fun and insightful — an experience that filled their own hearts as they were helping others.

Putting into practice lessons learned through meditation and mindful activity, the volunteers peeled, chopped and stirred ingredients for vegetable beef curry, a green salad, corn mixed with avocados and tomatoes plus a fruit salad for dessert. Before the event, each volunteer was asked to reflect upon their motivations and expectations and were encouraged to find an aspiration for the evening’s activity. One volunteer, originally inspired by the actions of Venerable Pannavati, vowed to spend more time talking with the homeless youth at the shelter. Another intended to focus on the youth but found her attention drawn to the grace and compassion shown to the patrons by the ROOTS staff. Others recalled the words spoken by the Karmapa to Silas Follendorf, an advocate for homeless youth, during his public talk in May. Answering a question asked by Follendorf, His Holiness said:

“The work you are doing is very meaningful work that’s bringing direct benefit and really directly sparking an experience of happiness for these people.”

There will be another opportunity to volunteer at ROOTS Friday Feast in November. NalandaWest welcomes anyone who would like to participate. For more information, please send an email to or call 206-529-8258.

NalandaWest is located at 3902 Woodland Park Avenue North, Seattle 98103.