Bringing fear of coronavirus (and all other fears) onto the path Part 7: Advice from Situ Rinpoche: “Don’t panic. Don’t give up.”

A few days ago Guru Vajradhara Tai Situ Rinpoche shared advice about how to manage our safety and our fears and remember the dharma during the covid-19 pandemic, which continues to escalate. This video, embedded below, has been widely shared on social media, but I wanted to also preserve it here. Guru Vajradhara Tai Situ Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the worldwide Palpung network of Karma Kagyu monasteries and dharma centers, which includes Palpung Thubten Choling and its affiliated centers.

Rinpoche begins by reminding us that this pandemic is not an extraordinary or unique event in human history. “Many things like this have happened, and this is happening.”

“What can we do as an individual?” Rinpoche has several recommendations:

  • Take care of ourself and others, to keep from getting the virus and from spreading it.
  • In particular, we must take care of those who are older and more vulnerable.
  • Never give up.
  • However, don’t think you won’t get sick. Exercise gentle and thoughtful vigilance.
  • Appreciate and support doctors, nurses, and others who are helping.
  • Cultivate compassion for all beings, especially those who are sick; and do whatever you can to help, including prayer. “Remember that we are one in our wish not to suffer.”
  • “Don’t panic. Panic makes everything worse. Take it as it is — no more, no less.”

Rinpoche ends on an encouraging note: “Disharmony should be over. Environmental degradation should be over. If your heart is in something, you can do it.”

“Wisdom, sincerity, and honesty are very important. If we are sincere, if we are honest, then we will have wisdom, and we will find the solution to overcome this pandemic. Sincerity and honesty make the mind clear. Clear mind will have wisdom.”

Previous posts on how to bring fear onto the path:

Part 1: The four ends

Part 2: Mind training in two words: “others first”

Part 3: How to live and how to die

Part 4: “If it’s better for me to be ill…”

Part 5: Advice from contemporary masters

Part 6: Pinch me, I must be dreaming

Other related posts:

Resistance is futile

18 ways to catch ego-clinging in the act!

From Gampopa’s Ornament of Precious Liberation: Impermanence of the composite

A beautiful day in New Hampshire: In a Nutshell

From the 37 practices: Verse 4: to let go of attachment to this life

Ways to work with fear itself: Some Buddhist ways to work with emotional overwhelm

Bonus reminder from Western literature: Ozymandias