In this podcast, I’ll tell you all about Buddhist near enemies and apparent friends, a most unexpected death-bed confession about the first time I was on TV, and tell a story about compassion in action. You can use the player below or search for my podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and most other places people get their podcast listen on.
Outside my Dad's Hospice Room at the VA, Dayton Ohio
In Buddhism, there are these wholesome emotions we cultivate as our practice grows, akin to the fruits of the spirit in Christianity. There are four, called the Brahmaviharas: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Compassion is a resolve to be present with suffering - both our own and that of others, in a skillful and engaged way. It is empathy in action - a vow to maintain contact with another being’s humanity, even when they act from their own wounds and ignorance. Self-Compassion is believing in our own light, even when fear obscures our best self and we act from damaged places ourselves. It is a commitment to work toward extinguishing that suffering, planting seed to transform it into wisdom.
Compassion, or Karuna, is what motivates some flavors of Buddhists to make a promise to work toward the liberation of all sentient beings, called Bodhisattva vows. Spiritually speaking, we go big. Until every last one of us is free, none of us are.
Now, I’m an agnostic Buddhist with a pretty complex relationship with Jesus, so I’m not going to make any definitive statements about whether reincarnation and rebirth are literal or not, but in theory, Bodhisattvas work our asses off to get freedom from the endless cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth only to turn around, come back into a human body and start over - again and again and again - until every last one of us is on the Nirvana bus. I took Bodhisattva vows in 2009, and candidly there are times I’m not sure what I was thinking.
Because compassion is hard.
It takes a lot of work to arrive at a point where you really and sincerely want people who hurt you, who disagree with you, and who move through the world in ways that upset you to be free from suffering.
I learned a lot about this from my father, who was not an easy man to love - you can listen to the podcast to hear the story.
Ease Mountain Yoga & Nourishing Arts
9573 Highway 9
Ben Lomond, CA 95005