Statement of purpose and foundational principles
Bamboo is a community open to all who seek to live a life of deep connection with others and all creation, grounded in the mystery that underpins our lives. Seeking to be 'contemplatives in action' we affirm life, love and justice through our commitment to the following foundational principles:
We aim to express this commitment within and across all the domains of our lives - personal, family, community and the broader society.
Bamboo is about our actions and how we live our lives and it's about community. In a world that is often polarised, we recognise the urgent need for people of good will to focus on our points of unity and interdependence, and to live lives that reflect this reality. And so Bamboo provides a meeting point for people from diverse backgrounds, faith traditions and others who are searching - seeking to affirm and foster a spirit of gratitude as the basis of our connection with one another around fundamental shared values and expressions of solidarity flowing from these.
Bamboo allows for a range of personal circumstances. Members living in isolated settings can be nurtured by belonging to a worldwide community of people with a shared purpose; others can seek out and connect with others in their locality for support and to share ideas, activities and resources.
Bamboo is non-prescriptive - the purpose and foundational principles provide an orientation rather than a blueprint spelling out the details of implementation. There is freedom to practise the foundational principles of living simply, solidarity with those in need, and contemplation and reflection according to one's personal circumstances and context, allowing for diversity within the Bamboo community.
Bamboo has its roots in the Ignatian, Catholic, Christian tradition drawing particularly on this tradition's respect for life, its justice heritage, its commitment to solidarity with those most in need, the practice of discernment and inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue. While Bamboo is nurtured by and shares the treasures of this heritage, it actively seeks to learn from and embrace a wide range of people and diverse traditions - all seeking to express the deep unity and care for all life that reflects our truest experience and identity.
Bamboo is for anyone who is seeking to live a life of integrity and purpose that aligns with Bamboo's purpose and foundational principles and who wishes to connect with others in this endeavour.
Bamboo might be for you if you identify with any of the following:
- people who are looking for an integration in their lives between living simply, in solidarity with each other and those in need (locally and globally) and fostering contemplation to open themselves to the mystery of life.
- people who are active in these domains, or wish to be, and want to connect with others striving to live similar lives. That connection may vary, from being part of an online community through to initiating or connecting with a local group of people or simply practising these principles in one's own life.
- people from various faith traditions or no faith tradition, who want to connect with a broad, diverse group of people living according to these shared principles.
- people who have been influenced by the Ignatian tradition and seek to draw on this heritage to give expression to their beliefs and values in a way that responds to our current reality. This might include those who have a connection with the Jesuits or other Ignatian religious entities through an educational institution, parish or other organisation or activity.
Traditions Bamboo draws from
Bamboo is open to draw from a range of traditions that are able to nurture our desire to live grounded in the mystery that underpins our lives - of deep connection and interdependence with every person and all creation.
The Ignatian tradition is one foundation that informs Bamboo. Some of the key treasures from this tradition include:
- appreciating the unity of all life - recognising that the same underlying mystery energises and sustains all creation, we seek to respond to the invitation to share in this loving action.
- gratitude and loving service - recognising that everything is gift, we foster an attitude of grateful response.
- discernment - fostering a practice of regular contemplation, we seek to be attentive to our own interior movements and to develop a capacity to decide which among them is guiding us toward our deepest purpose.
- a desire to be 'contemplatives in action' - integrating personal spiritual practice and loving service in an active, life affirming and loving spirituality, we seek to recognise in all things the presence of the mystery underpinning our existence.
- reading the signs of the times - drawing on our engagement with people and areas of need and cultivating a critical and informed awareness, we strive to discern the 'bigger picture' shifts and movements of our world.
- imagination - using all our senses and capacities, we develop big dreams about what is possible and strive to make that a reality; we engage the imagination to foster the arts as a way to bring people together, to name and address injustice and express our creativity.
- the magis - always seeking 'the more', the deeper, the more fruitful, we strive for the more loving response.
- going to the frontiers - understanding our ultimate purpose and developing our capacity to read the signs of the times and to respond freely, we strive to go to the edges of society to make our contribution.
- a 'fire that kindles other fires' - being whole hearted and passionate about 'what matters' we seek not only to make a difference but to be open to others making a difference in and through us.
- companions - appreciating the value of sharing our stories, our dreams and our efforts, we seek to give to and receive from each other with great generosity.
The Bamboo name
Bamboo is light, strong and flexible; it has strong roots so that in a storm the bamboo is a good place to shelter under as it's unlikely to be blown over; being hollow, it shares the same word in Chinese as 'humble' suggesting the need to make oneself 'hollow' in order to create a capacity to let in the 'other', to accommodate others; bamboo is partitioned into sections and the word 'section' shares the same Chinese word 'integrity'; bamboo has the potential to start small but grow tall - there is a Chinese poem that says bamboo has 'section' (integrity) even when it's underground, yet stays hollow (humble) when it has grown tall; bamboo is wonderfully versatile with different parts of bamboo being used for a wide variety of purposes.