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Lions Roar : January 2007
BY THE VENERABLE AYYA KHEMA Please put your attention on the breath for just a moment. Think of yourself as your own mother and your own child. The child who wants entertainment and distraction and is looking for pleasure, and the mother who loves the child completely, no matter what the child does, and has enough wisdom to guide the child along the right path. Feel the love of a mother for yourself: all-embracing; all-encompassing; always helpful, caring, concerned, soothing, and supportive. Now think of the person sitting nearest you as your own child, and you are the mother, embracing, supporting and caring, wanting to help, being concerned. Now think of yourself as the mother of everyone immediately around you. Embrace each with a feeling of warmth and care, support and helpfulness, the completeness of love, just as a mother does. Think of your parents reversing the roles. You are the mother; they are your children. Embrace them, love and support them. Be soothing, caring, and helpful, just as a mother loves her child no matter what it does. Think of those people who are nearest and dearest to you and embrace them with the love that a mother has for her children: non- discriminating, supportive, and helpful. Think of your good friends and feel yourself as their mother. Em- brace them with the love that a mother has for her children, always accepting, concerned, and caring. Think of all the people who come into your life now and then or often. Near or far. Make them all your children; be their mother. Embrace them, being supportive and caring, accepting and helpful, non-judgmental. Think of any person whom you may dislike or may have had some problem with. Think of that person as your own child. Chil- dren often present problems, but mothers love them anyway. Love this difficult person as a mother would, and embrace that person with the warmth of a mother’s love. Now imagine that you have a huge family, the family of mankind, and let your heart open to extend a mother’s love far and wide to reach as many people as you can with love and care and concern. Embrace them and support them. The larger the family. the more love is in your heart, expanding, growing, and enlarging the feeling of belonging and togetherness. Making your heart a heart of love. Now bring your attention back to yourself and feel embedded in mother’s love, which you extend toward yourself. It protects and supports you and embraces you with caring and concern. Feel your- self totally surrounded by the love and concern, at ease and safe. May beings everywhere feel love for each other. ♦ © Buddha Haus. Meditations und studienzentrum e.V. 62 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 If You Were Their Mother An Exercise in Compassion deliver. His discussion of terrorism laid a lot of blame at the feet of the West, while calling for tolerance and acknowledging the grievances of the Muslim world.) The Dalai Lama points to two ways in which such universal, unbiased compassion can be developed and nurtured: through education and the cultural environment. He praised his own society of Tibet and the multicultural Canadian city where he was speaking. “Generally, the Tibetan community is quite peaceful. Why?” he asked. “Tibetans are hu- man beings—there’s no biological difference. The difference is environment, cultural heritage, certain habits in society. Here in Vancouver there are people from many countries—this whole city is multicul- tural and people live together peacefully, more like members of one family. So the cultural environment can create a different mental attitude. “This is the key thing: how to bring about a more peaceful, more harmonious society. It is like our body’s immune system: once you have a strong im- mune system, some small disturbances here or there won’t affect you much. But when your immune sys- tem is weak, the slightest violence creates a lot of problems. Similarly, in a society with a more com- passionate culture, some disagreement, some vio- lence here and there, may take place, but the whole society is basically strong and healthy. Creating that healthy society is everybody’s responsibility. “Second, along with the environment, one of the most important influential things in society is education,” he said. “Through education, new gen- erations eventually can create a society that is more peaceful, more compassionate.” No Buddhist is ever supposed to give up on any sentient being. All have buddhanature, after all. But listening to the Dalai Lama, you wonder whether he’s had enough of the generation that made such a mess of the twentieth century. Change is one of Buddhism’s great themes; change is accelerating, and to handle it you need a fresh, flexible, and per- haps young mind. “The future is in our hands,” His Holiness told an audience of young people during a dialogue with students. “Every human action is supposed to be for the good, but out of ignorance and, I think, the lack of a wider perspective, often our actions bring pain- ful consequences. The present generation—with fuller knowledge about reality and with a wider per- spective—can carry out action for a better world, better future. I think the older generation—people like myself who belong to the twentieth century— now we are ready to say goodbye.