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Imagine trying to generate even the slightest bodhicitta -- the
intention to become fully enlightened in order to benefit all sentient
beings most effectively -- in a prison environment. It's similar
to generating compassion in hell! Although we are all prisoners
of our negative karma, negative emotions, and disturbing attitudes,
we still have this precious human life. Nothing can ever take away
our Buddha potential. Ven. Chodron and the prisoners with whom she
corresponds offer practitioners insights into how they can benefit
themselves and others in even the most difficult situations.
Karma allows us to say everything that is happening to us is our own responsibility—good or bad, we did it to ourselves. That’s hard for some people I’ve found out. The benefit of it is enormous, though, because it gives us the ability to say, “I don’t like what I’m going through; therefore I’ll change my actions so I get the result that I want.” That’s a lot of control over the one thing we can actually control, and it changes our whole life, environment, and world.
You asked for my ideas on how to use the Dharma to retrain the mind in correct views and beneficial emotions and what meditations help that. First—and this is the biggest one—for me the most beneficial practice is showing up—to sit there and know there are a million other things that I’d rather be doing, but instead I’m showing up.
Power to Hope, Power to Heal
by David J. Lister ©
breath by breath
moment to moment,
day by day
born of the tiniest actions
which spread in compassionate ripples
become waves of loving kindness
washing across the face of our fragile planet,
of its anger, greed, violence,
delusion and hate.
the power of a smile
or a kind word
on a cloudy day,
or the simple moment
it takes to recognize
another’s hurt or pain,
the infinite power
of simply caring
for another fellow being
with whom we share so much,
for, despite our differences,
the roads we travel
are all the same.
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