The Medicine of Altruism

Practicing altruism is the real source of compromise and cooperation; merely recognizing our need for harmony is not enough. A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir – a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This is like a seed; when cultivated, gives rise to many other good qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity. The compassionate mind is like an elixir; it is capable of transforming bad situation into beneficial ones. Therefore, we should not limit our expressions of love and compassion to our family and friends. Nor is the compassion only the responsibility of clergy, health care and social workers. It is the necessary business of every part of the human community.

~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, The Medicine of Altruism

Robert V. Taylor at Seeds of Compassion

Image via Wikipedia

 

What can I do?

Just yesterday I was thinking of how to help the ever changing world…i.e.more famines…more riots…more violence for violence’s sake.

I thought…What can I do? (not in order)

1. Feed the sentient beings as I can, locally.

2. Pray and do mantra practice

3. Meditate.

4. Smile to all even if they do not smile in return.

5. Drive mindfully and safely

6. Look people in the eyes and see them for them

7. Volunteer at the Local Food Bank

8. Travel the Middle Path

9. Speak only those words that should be spoken

10. Repeat and add more.

I know this is a simple and incomplete list. And we all do these things with out referring to the list. But sometimes it helps to write down what we can do to help ourselves and all sentient beings. It removes anger (frustration)…apathy due to being overwhelmed…it highlights the ripple effect (what we do, feel, not do, not feel..ripples throughout the worlds)

An Innocent Misunderstanding

When the Buddha taught, he didn’t say that we were bad people or that there was some sin that we had committed—original or otherwise—that made us more ignorant than clear, more harsh than gentle, more closed than open. He taught that there is a kind of innocent misunderstanding that we all share, something that can be turned around, corrected, and seen through, as if we were in a dark room and someone showed us where the light switch was. It isn’t a sin that we are in a dark room. It’s just an innocent situation, but how fortunate that someone shows us where the light switch is. It brightens up our life considerably. We can start to read books, to see one another’s faces, to discover the colors of the walls, to enjoy the little animals that creep in and out of the room. ~ Pema Chodron

from The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron