Turning Our Minds To Compassion

*** from Ajahn Jayasāro

“The more closely we contemplate our bodies and minds and the world we live in, the more profoundly we become aware of fragility and instability.

When a crisis like this pandemic lays bare the unreliable and uncertain nature of the world, we are unsurprised.  We know that what is happening right now is not a deviation from the norm. It is merely that the covers have been dragged away from the truths that most people spend their lives trying to ignore.

With a daily grounding in the way things are, we can remain free from panic, anxiety and depression.  We can turn our minds to compassion.

Faced with suffering of this depth and range, we form the heart-felt wish that all people, young and old, in all countries of the world, be free from infection. If they have contracted the virus, may they recover.

If they do not recover, may they be able to endure their pain with patience and acceptance; may they have a refuge in their heart to turn to; and in their final days, may they be surrounded with love and kindness.”

*** from the Buddha’s teaching at Sāvatthī, “If There is No Desire”, Nidāna Saṃyutta, SN 12.64 (Connected Discourses on Causation)

“Suppose, monks, there was a bungalow or a hall with a peaked roof, with windows on the northern, southern, or eastern side. When the sun rises and a ray of light enters through a window, where would it land?”
“On the western wall, Venerable Sir.”
“If there was no western wall, where would it land?”
“On the earth, Venerable Sir.”
“If there was no earth, where would it land?”
“In water, Venerable Sir.”
“If there was no water, where would it land?”
“It wouldn’t land, Venerable Sir.”

“In the same way, if there is no desire, relishing, and craving for solid food, consciousness does not become established there and doesn’t grow. … If there is no desire, relishing, and craving for contact as fuel … If there is no desire, relishing, and craving for mental intention as fuel … If there is no desire, relishing, and craving for consciousness as fuel, consciousness doesn’t become established there and doesn’t grow.

Where consciousness is not established and doesn’t grow, name and form are not conceived. Where name and form are not conceived, there is no growth of choices. Where choices don’t grow, there is no rebirth into a new state of existence in the future. Where there is no rebirth into a new state of existence in the future, there is no rebirth, old age, and death in the future. Where there is no rebirth, old age, and death in the future, I say there’s no sorrow, anguish, and distress.”

 

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