Monthly Archives: December 2017

37 practices: verse 16

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.

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37 practices: which verse(s) to memorize?

As you may know, I’m a great fan of memorization as a way to deeply study and internalize the dharma. In fact, it is one of the traditional 10 Dharma Activities.

It’s also why I’m making a new translation of the 37 practices for this class, even though there are lots of good ones already available. Verse is just naturally easier to memorize, and that’s one reason so much of the dharma is in verse. (Not to mention Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, and Dante.) I find that it also resonates in the mind and heart in a way that prose rarely does.

Which brings me to the suggestion I have, after working with verses 1-15 during our holiday hiatus from class.

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