We may not be able to stop someone from dying or suffering pain, but we can still help through the honesty, compassion and presence of mind we bring to the situation. The key, says Buddhist teacher Judith L. Lief, is working with our own state of mind and attitudes toward death.
“If we have ambitions—even if our aim is enlightenment—then there is no meditation, because we are thinking about it, craving it, fantasizing, imagining things. That is not meditation. This is why an important characteristic of shamatha meditation is to let go of any goal and simply sit for the sake of sitting. We breathe in and out, and we just watch that. Nothing else.”
“Do not fear failure. Whatever happened in the past is past; do not worry about it happening again. Before you meet with success, failure is natural and necessary.”
– Master Sheng-Yen
“May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.”
“If we are lucky, we can… give ourselves to some inner discipline, whether it is tai chi, sitting meditation, painting, or even ice sculpture. What matters is the acceptance of repetition. One traditional example compares the practice of meditation to a bird that drags a silk scarf across the top of a mountain; the mountain of ego wears away so slowly, and yet the only thing to do is to keep drawing the scarf over it day after day.”
– Lyn and Tom Davis Genelli
“Learning how to negotiate conflict demands that we become more present, more fearless. We may need to relinquish the hopeful image of ourselves as remaining serene under all circumstances, like sitting buddhas carved from wood or stone. We have to expect our composure to be compromised as we learn about the possibilities and creative solutions of working directly with the conflict in our relationships. Even, and maybe especially, when things don’t turn out as we want, our engagement with discord refines and teaches us something, altering our life’s very course.”
– Diane Musho Hamilton
Buddhist Global Relief marches against hunger in NYC.
– Max Zahn