The Metta Sutta Campaign

If you are not familiar with it, Rev. Danny is trying to get a viral campaign going of folks reading the Metta Sutta in virtual solidarity for the monastics of Burma.  As reported in the The Irrawaddy:

Buddhist monks at the Myat Saw Nyi Naung Pagoda in Yenangyaung, Magway Divison, were warned on Wednesday not to hold a ceremony to chant the Metta Sutta—the Buddha’s discourse on loving-kindness.

The monks originally planned a 12-hour-long recitation, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, to mark the full moon day of the fifth month of the Burmese calendar, traditionally celebrated as “Metta Sutta Day” by Burmese Buddhists.

“We only intended to recite Buddhist sutras, including the Metta Sutta, to wish for all sentient beings to be peaceful and free from anxiety. But the authorities told us to call off our plans,” a monk from Yenangyaung told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

Similar ceremonies are normally held throughout the country on this day. However, since a brutal crackdown on the monk-led protests of 2007, which featured marching monks reciting the Metta Sutta, most monasteries have been wary of publicly chanting the sutra.

Please check out Danny’s original article, as well as his latest update.  In the former you’ll find Danny’s original video, in the latter embeds of other folks’ readings.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88

This doesn’t come as a great shock, but I’d like to note Mrs. Shriver’s passing – she was an amazing, compassionate woman.

During my teen years, I volunteered often with the Special Olympics – my first job was Hugger – and it was a fantastic job. ^_^  I miss it and look forward to volunteering again at some point, when we are closer to events.  Please consider getting involved – it’s a total joy!

(Note – today the Special Olympics link forwards to Mrs. Shriver’s foundation site.)

Lyndon Harris and his Path to Forgiveness

From the Christian Science Monitor: "People Making a Difference: Lyndon Harris"(no copyright infringement intended)

I found an interesting and inspiring article over at The Christian Science Monitor‘s site detailing Reverend Lyndon Harris’ struggles with forgiveness in the wake of 9/11.

Finally, Harris says, he could hear these words attributed to Nelson Mandela: “Not to forgive is like drinking a glass of poison and waiting for your enemies to die.” Harris admits he drank deeply of that poison – mostly, he says, “because it tasted so good.”

Rev. Harris met Alexandra Asseily who had:

begun a movement to plant a Garden of Forgiveness in her beloved Lebanon after its civil war, which claimed more than 300,000 lives. The greatest gift to one’s children, Ms. Asseily teaches, is to become a better ancestor. And that, she says, is done through forgiveness.

I’ll save the rest of the story for the article, but I will say that since then Reverend Harris has become involved in a movement to plant a Garden of Forgiveness in New York City and even more abroad (in Rwanda, for instance).

In researching this blog entry I found a film called The Power of Forgiveness, which features Ms. Asseily and others working for forgiveness in the world.  I’m sorry to say I missed it’s showing on PBS in 2008.  Hopefully I’ll get to see it soon.  ^_^  In the meantime there are some interesting resources on the film’s site, including outreach tools and forgiveness resources.

“For the love of wildlife”

Thought I’d share the leading article in our local paper last weekend:

For the love of wildlife

The Walton Sun

Walton County Sheriff’s deputies rescue and revive raccoon.

Sgt. Donald Savage has been with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for 5.5 years, but he had never been dispatched on a raccoon rescue mission before last Sunday.

Robine Bascom lives in Gulfview Heights. About 8 a.m. Sunday, she discovered a raccoon’s head sticking out of a hole in a large dumpster at a construction site across the street.

The raccoon was still alive, but its entire body was submerged in water except for its head, which it had managed to stick out of the small hole.

Bascom surmises it had probably jumped into the water-filled dumpster during the night and couldn’t get back out. After swimming for maybe most of the night to keep its head above water, the poor critter became tired and was about to drown. It stuck its head through the small opening in order to breathe.

“It was obvious he was suffering,” said Bascom.

Bascom called Walton County Sheriff’s Department and asked for help to save the critter.

Deputies Lloyd Skipper and Michael Townsend were dispatched to the site and joined by Savage.

Skipper put a rope around the raccoon’s body and pulled while Townsend and Savage pushed on its head with a board.

“He growled and took a couple of chunks out of the board while we were pushing, but we had to get him out or he was going to die stuck like that,” said Savage. “He was probably exhausted and eventually passed out, which helped us to free him.”

When Skipper succeeded in pulling the raccoon free, it flopped lifelessly to the ground.

“He was pretty much gone when we got him out,” said Savage.

Skipper began pushing on the raccoon’s chest with his foot in an attempt at cardiac compression. After about 15 minutes, it finally began to breathe, then moved and finally set up and ran off into the woods.

Bascom saw the revived raccoon later on that evening at her garbage can, looking no worse for his misadventure.

“That was a first call for any of us for a raccoon,” said Savage. “I’ve had calls for snakes and all sorts of critters to get them out of people’s houses, but never to save a raccoon.”

Equanimity

If this embed doesn’t work, and you’ve yet to see Susan Boyle‘s performance (it went viral this weekend on the ‘net) – please click here and watch this all the way through:  YouTube – Susan Boyle – Singer – Britains Got Talent 2009.  (You could also click on the image above to get to it.)  I think you’ll be glad you did.

From from chapter 22, “The Four Immeasurable Minds,” of Thich Nhat Hanh‘s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching:

The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go.  Upa means “over,” and iksh means “to look.”  You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other.  If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.  People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent.  If you have more than one child, they are all your children.  Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love.  You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.

Upeksha has the mark called samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others.

Many

Molly Brown, over at Destination the Journey, today broached something that is a strong component of my practice.

While you sit reading this, someone is giving birth, another is dying, another grieves the loss of a love one. Everything in the breadth and depth of daily human experience is happening right now.

As I move through my day, I do my best to bear this in mind, and honor all these beings and their experiences with my behavior. It doesn’t always work, and I am constantly having to pull myself back to this thought, but I try to do my best.

When I begin to pity myself or my situation, I find remembering that many of my brothers and sisters are in far worse places returns me to center. I pray for peace and strength of heart for them, and then also for myself.

Dog Noses and Mindfulness

You know, for me sitting sometimes becomes a wonderful lesson in impermanence and attachment. The silent meditation I am experiencing and enjoying may disappear in the sudden appearance of a wet dog nose in my lap. I must consciously use that wet snuffle as a mindfulness bell – nothing is permanent, and being attached to my meditation session does no one any good. It is good to sit, and sit uninterrupted, but I am aware that my life choices (like adopting a dog, and forgetting to shut the door before I sit) affect how my practice may transpire. Meditation is just one piece of a life’s practice, and I must always remember that. Sometimes there is more to be learned from mindfully accepting and loving the dog underfoot, or the sleepy child crawling into my lap.