Help for the homeless: up close and personal

Leonard Dixon

In December of 2013, long-time Subud member Leonard Dixon, was walking on the street in downtown Portland, OR. He saw people trying to sleep outside on the sidewalks in sub-freezing weather with no shelter. It was a life-changing moment for Leonard and he knew that he wanted to help in some way. Leonard started purchasing vital supplies with his own money and bringing these items to people living in extremely difficult situations in Portland and Vancouver, WA. He continues to make direct deliveries to individuals sleeping on the streets, or to groups gathered under bridges and living in tent cities, as well as people served by various shelters in these cities. Leonard estimates that he has directly served at least 1000 people over the years as he encounters them on the street. He continues to pass out food, sleeping bags, blankets, tarps, etc., to the homeless, as well advocating for the homeless with Portland city government.

Leonard sees a connection between the latihan and his humanitarian work. “Doing the latihan can strip away excess ‘junk’ from one’s being, and also broaden one’s sense of awareness, so that feelings of compassion can develop.” He believes that Susila Dharma has an important function to play in informing our membership about various social needs, and encouraging them to do what they can to help. Fundraising for projects is also a necessary part of Susila Dharma’s work. Leonard believes that helping others has definite spiritual rewards, leading to a strengthening of character and a broadening of one’s vision. Deepest thanks to Leonard for giving us an outstanding example of how to bring the latihan into the world.