I've noticed a deep and disturbing trend: a massive confusion in U.S. culture over the word love. The truth is, we toss the word around in many different ways. Most of them are unhelpful. Some are downright destructive.
I won't say I experienced some sort of transcendent moment then, that time seemed to stop and beckon me into some sort of new, spiritually enhanced state. But I will say this: Something told me the murder scene could wait for a while.
To begin with, we can't wait until we have overcome all our own suffering before addressing that of others. Events are speeding up, and they are not going to wait for you and me to attain great enlightenment.
We have only to look at the continuing drumbeat of bad news regarding present-day Buddhist teachers, leaders and institutions to realize that Buddhists -- like people of every faith -- come in all shapes and sizes.
Richie had truly "seen" Sharon -- her vulnerability and spirit, and he'd expressed his care by mirroring her goodness. It took another year and a half for her to tell him what those gifts had meant to her, and to apologize. But because he hadn't given up on her, a thaw had begun.
I have visited, prayed, chanted, bowed and meditated in many, if not most, of the great houses of worship of this evanescent world. And at this holy time of year, I send my warmest wishes and prayers for your health and well-being.
Instead of asking, "How can I get out of this situation?" the bodhisattva asks, "What can I contribute to make this situation better?" Today, more than ever, we need to understand the bodhisattva path as a spiritual archetype that offers a new vision of human possibility.
Being a mindful human, balancing personal responsibility with interdependence, is a perfect challenge for this fragile era on Planet Earth. It's a challenge way harder than charging iPhones and hosting a few dozen bourgeousie refugees.
To "not seek" is to evolve without intention, without conscious direction stemming from an awakening heart; while "to seek" is a never-ending process of investigation -- to refine discernment and strengthen direction.
As he passed, I heard two sounds that would symbolize for me how the Dalai Lama works in both the political and spiritual worlds -- a soft, deeply wise chuckle, and the flapping of his rubber flip-flops, en route to helping others.