Who Will Teach Love and Compassion?


Receiving the news of Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s ill health and approaching death, I am reminded again that no one escapes death. Life passes very quickly and we have a very short time in which to try to live healing lives of love and compassion. If we are not careful, we can miss our opportunity to live deep and faith-filled lives.

The passing of a teacher, like Thich Nhat Hanh, is a reminder that the responsibility for religious teaching is transferring from one generation to the next. Though not a student of Thich Nhat Hanh, I am acutely aware that many of my teachers have now “left their bodies.” At what point, or what age, do we begin to step into the role of teacher? It is a scary prospect to have responsibility for the care and guidance of another’s religious life. Especially when it feels as if one is just now begining to actually walk the path.

Bo Lozoff, another teacher who has passed, used to chide me by saying that we need to wake up to the fact that we are now becoming the religious elders of our community. Of course he was teasing me about getting older. However, his point was also that if we – those who have dedicated our lives to religion – do not own the role of “elder”, who is going to pass on the teachings to the next generation?

Certainly there are different levels of teachers. Many will teach in little ways by the lives they live. Others will have one or two students. Other teachers may have large followings. The numbers are not important. Rather, what is important is a willingness to help others along the path. Without teachers and guides, how will the next generation awaken to the religious life of love and compassion?

With deep gratitude I bow to my many teachers. I offer prayers for the well-being of all and pray that the light of measureless compassion may never be extinguished.

Peace, Paul

One Response to “Who Will Teach Love and Compassion?”

  1. www.srinethtv.com Says:


    Who Will Teach Love and Compassion? | Peace Paul’s Weblog

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