In Buddhism, the appearance of your surroundings doesn’t depend on the volition of a God bestowing or withholding his Kingdom. It depends on your mental and emotional disposition. If you’re angry, you look around and see enemies. If you’re happy, you look around and see friends. If you’re enlightened, you look around and see Buddhas. Your mental state shapes the realm you inhabit.
I’ve spent these early adult years pursuing a listless nostalgia for a wholeness I couldn’t remember how to articulate. Being in the presence of the Dalai Lama reminded me that I never needed to look further than my own mother, who has shown me selfless love from the beginning.
How does one respond compassionately to the negative confusion that drives men to assault women — meaning, how can victims of assault respond in a way that mitigates negativity rather than perpetuates it? Given that the issue is systemic, it seems that angry, irritated, traumatized, or violent reactions are the only avenue available to us in face to face encounter.
This year, I find myself away from home on Christmas Eve for the first time. It’s not as if I’ll be missing out on much. Things will play out as they always have. In the morning, my dad and three sisters will walk our new puppy to go get coffee. Last year, we walked our other dog, Charger, but he died in April.
The war in Syria is not Syria’s problem. It is everyone’s problem. Fear, hatred and greed collude to create wars; to pretend as if those same shadows don’t loiter within my own heart and mind is to do a gross injustice to those who suffer on their account.
I currently live in Boudha, a town on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley. It’s small, dusty and cramped, with …