If someone I’ve cared for as my own child / Turns on me as their worst enemy,
Then, like a mother when her child is ill, / To shower them with more love than before:
This is the way a bodhisattva trains.
verse 16 audio
This verse is a perfect illustration of the meaning of taking and sending meditation (tong len), embodied in verse 11. When anyone directs negative thoughts, words and actions at us, as aspiring bodhisattvas we willingly accept and take it on, wishing them only comfort, peace, and happiness in return, because we feel deeply connected with them, we feel their suffering as our suffering, and we understand that when they lash out at us, it’s coming from their own blinding emotions.
Parenthood is great training for this, as infants, toddlers, teens and even adult children may resent or reject our attempts to care for them, not understanding the bigger picture of our intentions or the reality of a situation; yet because of our deep bond, even though we may feel hurt or frustrated in the moment, we react from spontaneous love and compassion.