[photo credit: Hu Yuanjia]
i keep these photographs in my phone to look at every once in a while.
briefly, the story around them, goes as so: the photographer heard someone yelling and then people gathering around an elderly man sitting on a bench in a train station. he had apparently fallen asleep and then passed away. out of the crowd, a Buddhist monk walked over and began chants and prayers over the deceased man, holding his hand. after completing the ritual, the monk bowed to the deceased man and then disappeared into the crowd.
i find this story and these images so moving. there’s so much beauty in seeing such empathy and compassion in action. the monk, treating the deceased man with an incredible depth of dignity and compassion.
keep images and stories like this close to your hearts during this time, friends. where we don’t see it, we can be it.
we are currently seeing a grave lacking of empathy, of treating others with dignity, of compassion from the highest offices. it is worrisome. however, these values, these ways of being still exist, and where they exist there is hope.
Hello friends –
Buddhist teacher, thinker, and activist Michael Stone transitioned from this life to the next last night. Although I didn’t know him personally, I have valued his teachings both through his YouTube vlogs and his writings. Very real, very accessible, and always with a sense of tenderness and genuine curiosity. His presence will be missed. The openness and generosity of his partner and wife, Carina along with other members of his family and loved ones during the past 24 or so hours has been an incredible act of grace as they practiced openly and invited all those touched by Michael’s teachings to join them in practice.
Although I have many favorite Michael dharma talks, I have some particular favorites below for you to view. Michael had this thing he did “5 Minute Dharma Talks” which I have loved to go back to from time to time. They were like a clarifying anchor in my practice.
May they bring benefit to your practice as well:
a longer talk/conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer:
Nobody’s Life Is Just Their Life
Michael was also at the forefront of practice and social engagement, which you get a glimpse of in his videos I’ve posted above. We are certainly in a time when this is not only beneficial, but necessary.
May Michael’s teachings continue to be of benefit as the generosity of the dharma ripples out from heart to heart, into the world.
bows of gratitude
For those of us in the LGBTQ community, for people of color, for Muslims, for the differently abled, for women, for the immigrant, and for anyone else who feels a sense of being the “other” or oppressed, the results of this election may feel frightening and concerning. Our hearts broken, vulnerable, and tender.
Stay with this.
STAY with this. Do not cover it up, do not hide from it, do not run from it. There is no need to pretend.
This brokenness, this vulnerability, this tenderness of heart, IS our strength and our power.
It is the same strength and power imbued and made manifest throughout history by artists, peacemakers, spiritual warriors, and lovers. This is what the world needs right now. Perhaps, more than ever.
For those of us who are LGBTQ – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are people of color – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are Muslim – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are women – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are immigrants – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are differently abled – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those whom I may not understand, who may hold opposite views (even views I consider harmful), who also seem to be feeling frightened, disenfranchised, and angry – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
The road ahead will surely be work. Perhaps, very difficult to work. But I vow to continue to work in service of the values and principles that define my life, my art, my writing, my spiritual practice.
I vow to continue to work in service of the same values and principles that moved me to vote for whom I continue to believe is the most qualified and representative candidate.
I vow to continue to work in service of all that speaks to the best of who we are and can be.
I vow to continue to work in service of all that opens hearts, nurtures kindness, motivates fierce compassion, elevates the “other”, and opens doors to the immigrant – the hungry -the poor.
I vow to continue to work in service of all that produces dialogue, civility, nonaggression and nonviolence.
This is what I can do, what WE can do, no matter who is President or who is in Congress or who is on the Supreme Court.
This world desperately needs healers, lovers, peacemakers – bodhisattvas.
Will we hear the cries of the world and answer the call?
we often think and say that, with the New Year, we have a fresh start – a clean slate to make choices that are more beneficial to our lives and the lives of others.
but the truth is, it is even better than that!
a fresh start is available with each breath we take – every breath we take is an opportunity to begin anew. every breath is a new lease on life, a confirmation that we still have the opportunity to benefit ourselves and others as we continue this journey.
each new breath is a new opportunity to let go, to choose life, to choose love, to choose nonaggression and nonviolence, to speak words of encouragement, to bear witness to our suffering and the suffering of others, to act with compassion and kindness, to live generously and with grace, to laugh, to smile, to be brave in the middle of our sadness, to dive into this experience fully opening our hearts more and more, choosing to be healers to the suffering we see.
may 2016, and every breath you take, remind you that there is beauty and there is love – and that you are both of these things.
#NewYears2016 #NYE2016 #HappyNewYear #change #transition #opportunity #life #love #compassion #kindness #generosity #courage #nonaggression #nonviolence #laugh #healing #healers #mindfulness #meditation #zen