Tag Archives: compassion

Merry Christmas

My friend, Nancy, renewed her Christian faith in her 50s. I asked her how she did it. “I re-interpret everything I hear,” she said.

Ai-yi-yi, i thought. That sounds like way too much work.

But let’s try it. Let’s translate the well-worn, worn-out greeting, “Merry Christmas” into Buddhist-speak.

Take the word “merry”–an old word, not much in use in nowadays. Merry Christmas, merry-go-round, Merry Wives of Windsor, merrymaking. Or “Row, row, your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily….”

Merry means joy or joyous, and joy is a more familiar word to us meditators. Joy is one of the Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas). Joy is one of 7 factors of awakening. Joy is the first of the meditative absorptions (jhanas).

Christmas was originally Christ Mass–the mass celebrating the birth of the Christ-child (though he wasn’t a Christ yet.) The Christ is a personification of love and compassion. Some of my friends who both meditate and go to church say they like the loving-compassion of Jesus, while the Buddha left a boatload of very clear instructions for living our everyday lives.

A mass is a time of communion–communing with our spiritual community. Here we recognize the refuge of sangha–our spiritual friends who keep us on the high road even when we’d rather give in to our low-road impulses.

So, how does this sound?

Joyous love and compassion dear friends.

Or in the vernacular, Merry Christmas.

They Are Doing the Best They Can

Be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can. It's so important to  remember not to listen … | Doing your best quotes, Be yourself quotes,  Inspirational quotes

I asked my friend Wendy how and why she is such a patient person. She said, “I assume the other person is doing the best they can. Doing the best they can given the circumstances.”

“Do you ascribe motivations to people?” i asked. “Do you ever think ‘He’s just pushing my buttons’ or ‘She is so-o-o slow.’ or ‘I can’t believe he did that.’?”

“I always assume people are doing the best they can. Even criminals. Given their circumstances, the circumstances they came from, they are doing the best they can.”

“Even political figures?” i asked.

“Oh sure. Just look at the background that person came from. No wonder they act like that.”

“Wow, ” i said.

“It’s the way i practice compassion,” she said.

Deep compassion. No judgments. Just assume each person is doing they best they can.

Scrooge’s Change of Heart

https://i0.wp.com/www.waitsel.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/christmas_carol-12.jpgScrooge awakens on Christmas morning a changed man. This change of heart, change of mind is the result of deep insight. Not just intellectual insight that says, “Oh yeah. Unh-huh. I understand.” but the deep embodied insight that can turn our life around on a dime.
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