Archive for January, 2015

Foolish Beings

January 25, 2015

“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” St. Paul

217px-Paris_Tuileries_Garden_Facepalm_statueWe are often powerless to do the good that we want to do. There is a dissonance between the lives that we live and our highest ideals, be they religious or secular. We desire to be loving and compassionate and yet the littlest things evoke thoughts of anger in our minds. We easily forgive strangers but cling to hurts caused by those nearest to our hearts. We rejoice in the troubles of others, despite our vows to bring happiness to all. We are, as the Pureland Buddhists say, foolish beings: Bombu.

Accepting our bombu nature is an act of humility. It means acknowledging our mistakes and shortcomings. It is accepting that there is a Truth bigger than our little selves. It is awakening to the unsettling reality that we receive far more than we could ever repay. That is why,as bombu beings, gratitude is our religious practice. Love and compassion are just the overflowing of this gratitude into the world. We awaken to the possibility of a life lived for the benefit of others, who have already offered us so much, even if we do not yet see it.

Peace, Paul

Photo: “Paris Tuileries Garden Facepalm statue” by Alex E. Proimos – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

A Life Lived Deeply

January 6, 2015

Buddha handsA new year is here. The previous year is gone. Some of us have lost friends and family over the course of the year. Others have made new friends, entered into new relationships, and seen the birth of children.  None of us has passed the year without being touched by impermanence and change.

Life is passing by so very swifty. If we are not careful, we may find ourself on the cusp of death, filled with regrets and doubts. So let’s use the turning of the new year as an opportunity to take stock of our lives. Let’s take some time to reflect and ask ourselves, have we lived a noble life? Is the world a better place, filled with more love and compassion, because of the life we have been leading?

In our heart, we already know the answers. Life is precious, sacred even. Yet most us  do not have a sense of the sacredness of life. We miss it because our lives are filled with the press and stress of the work-a-day world. There is no time for stillness, and wonder, and gratitude. Today’s world does not support such idleness.

Thus to live a life of prayer, to live deeply and embrace the sacredness of life, is to live counter to the ambient culture. Certainly it is not easy. The path, however, is clearly marked. Set aside time each day for silence and prayer. Give up anger and cultivate love as much as possible. Read and study the lives of the many great beings who have glimpsed the fundamental goodness of life. Practice generosity and kindness toward all you encounter. Keep the sacred always in mind.

Such a life has transformed whole societies. In our case, if we are lucky, through our efforts we may be able to bring a little light to someone in pain and sorrow who has lost all hope. What a wonderful gift that would be.

Peace, Paul

Photo: Wyoming_Jackrabbit