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Lions Roar : January 2003
74 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 In talking about practice, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a Tibetan teacher, said we practice in order to learn to trust ourselves more, to get confidence in what we know, to have faith rather than doubt. Loving-kindness and com- passion are innate capacities that we all have. This capacity to care, to be at one with, to con- nect, is something that isn’t destroyed, no mat- ter what we may go through. No matter what our life experience may have been, no matter how many scars we bear, that ability remains intact. And so we practice meditation in order to return to that spaciousness and to learn to trust our ability to love. We are all bodhisattvas, not in the sense of being saviors running around taking care of everybody’s problems, but through the truth of interconnectedness. There is no separa- tion. We all belong to each other. This, of course, can be a very difficult place to act from in the course of our daily lives. A friend of mine was once home alone when the doorbell rang. When he opened the door, he found himself facing a disheveled, wild-looking per- son. As my friend attempted to get this stranger to leave, the man looked at him and said sadly, “Don’t you know me anymore?” They had, in fact, never before met. While it was probably wise to refuse the man entry, his words were a tremendous teaching: “Don’t you know me anymore? Don’t you recognize me as a part of your life?” To be a bodhisattva, to open to our capacity for loving-kindness, is more a matter of recognition of our intercon- nectedness than a dictum for certain kinds of actions. We are essentially no different from each other, no matter who we are. We share the same urge toward happiness, and not one of us leaves this earth without having suffered. As the Buddha said, “All beings everywhere want to be happy.” It is only due to ignorance that we do the things that create suffering or sorrow for ourselves and for others. If we take the time to slow down and see all the different forces coming together in any action, we will see this desire for happiness even in the midst of some terribly harmful action. While we can and should take a strong stand against harm- ful behavior, we can do so without discon- necting ourselves from anyone. This is com- passion and loving-kindness based on clear Ally of Beings continued from page 52