“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." ”— Pema Chödrön (The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)
“Many of us prefer practices that will not cause discomfort, yet at the same time we want to be healed. But boddhichitta training doesn't work that way. A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it's also what makes us afraid.”—Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You. “Warrior” keeps coming up in my Buddhist reading and I’m fascinated because the two seem, on the surface, antithetical, but I read from a book about being a warrior yesterday and am seeing that they aren’t at all, if we don’t equate “warrior” with “warlike.” Reading this book at a time when I’m so full of fear and doubt and self-hatred, which mingles with my ambition and pride and perseverance. I guess that’s life, all of those mixed up into one head/heart/day. Anyway, I recommend it.
“The Buddha said that we are never separated from enlightenment. Even at the times when we feel most stuck, we are never alienated from the awakened state. The openness and warmth of the bodhichitta is in fact our true nature and condition. Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we're feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta--like the open sky--is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it.”—PEMA CHODRON
“Sharing the heart is a simple practice that can be used at any time and in every situation. It enlarges our view and helps us remember our interconnection. A version of tonglen on the spot, it is also a method for enhancing our ability to rejoice. The essence of this practice is that when we encounter pain in our life we breathe into our heart with the recognition that others also feel this. It's a way of acknowledging when we are closing down and of training to open up. When we encounter any pleasure or tenderness in our life, we cherish that and rejoice. Then we make the wish that others could also experience this delight or this relief. In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others. If this is the only training we ever remember to do, it will benefit us tremendously and everyone else as well. It's a way of bringing whatever we encounter onto the path of awakening bodhichitta. Even the simplest of things can be the basis of this practice--a beautiful morning, a good meal, a shower. Although there are many such fleeting ordinary moments n our days, we usually speed right past them. We forget what joy they can bring. So the first step is to stop, notice, and appreciate what is happening. Even if this is all we do, it's revolutionary. Then we think of someone who is suffering and wish that the person could have this pleasure to sweeten up his or her life.”—Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You, from the chapter “Enhancing the Training in Joy” (h/t to Tristan Taormino, who recommended it at Feminist Press)
Everybody loves something even if it's only tortillas. Heart Advice from Pema Chodron
WHAT IS BODHICHITTA?
“If we were to ask the Buddha, “What is bodhichitta?” he might tell us that this word is easier to understand than to translate. Chitta means “mind” and also “heart” or “attitude.” Bodhi means “awake,” “enlightened,” or “completely open.” Sometimes the completely open heart and mind of bodhichitta is called the soft spot, a place as vulnerable and tender as an open wound. It is equated, in part, with our ability to love. Even the cruelest people have this soft spot. Even the most vicious animals love their offspring. As Trungpa Rinpoche put it, “Everybody loves something, even if it’s only tortillas.”
From The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.
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“A human being is a part of the whole called by us, “the universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as separate from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”