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Lions Roar : May 2015
BODHISATTVAS Kayla Mueller The late aid worker was a bodhisattva in thought and deed. ZUMAPRESS.COM/KEYSTONEPRESS #THEDHARMA @kmaezenmiller You have to sit on a cushion. Then, maybe, one day, as a very advanced form of practice, wash the dishes. #zen @ShozanJHaubner Our minds tend to have a mind of their own, so we have to train to be simple. #meditation @Mepstein108 The willingness to be befuddled seems to be one of the most common marks of the enlightened consciousness. #enlightenment @BuddhistGeeks Stress has long been a valid trans- lation of dukkha. From one point of view, “stress reduction” is alle- viation of dukkha. @ethannichtern It is very difficult to inspire people to be compassionate citizens when 99% of the messages we send each other are about being consumers. KAYLA MUELLER GAVE her life help- ing others. In 2013, the 26-year-old humanitarian worker was abducted by ISIS on a trip inside Syria. She died early this year after eighteen months as an hostage. A committed Christian, Mueller was also deeply influenced by Buddhism. In 2010, she worked with Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, India. “We are deeply saddened that we have lost a great human being,” said Lobsang Rabsel of the LHA Charitable Trust. “She touched the lives of those who sur- rounded her and beyond.” Mueller began her life as a bodhisat- tva early. In high school, she helped youth with drug addictions and was president of the anti-genocide coalition at her univer- sity. She volunteered at an HIV/AIDS clinic in her hometown of Prescott, Arizona; worked with African refugees in Israel; and lived for a month in the West Bank, where she escorted Palestinian children to school and protested the demolition of homes. Of her work with Syrian refugees in Turkey, she said, “For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal.” While in Dharamsala she was able to see the Dalai Lama, which she described as “one of the most profound spiritual exper- iences” of her life. She studied the teach- ings of Thich Nhat Hanh and spent time at his monastery in Plum Village, France. Of her practice of engaged spiritu- ality, Mueller wrote, “The premise is essentially: do good things, don’t just hide away in a monastery and pray; also be active in the world and do good.” Elsewhere she wrote, “I’ve learned that selflessness is a practice, not a place; a journey much more than a destination.” Her family said that Mueller had a quiet, calming presence and was always standing up for those who were in pain. They said she had done more in her 26 years than many people could imagine doing in a lifetime. ♦ LIVES ON THE LINE • 2013 was the most dangerous on record for humanitarian workers: 155 killed, 171 seriously wounded, 134 kidnapped. • The most dangerous countries for aid workers: Afghanistan (81 incidents), Syria (43), South Sudan (35), Pakistan (17), and Sudan (16). • Risks to aid workers have increased because of the growing number of humanitarian workers deployed, unstable environments, and an eroding perception of their neutrality and independence. • 1/3 of deaths among aid workers occur in the first three months of deployment, with 17% occurring within the first 30 days. • August 19 is World Humanitarian Day, marking the August 19, 2003 bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad that killed 22 people, including the UN’s Special Representative in Iraq. Sources: Humanitarian Outcomes, United Nations Office for the Coor- dination of Humanitarian Affairs, Overseas Development Institute SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 17 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE