2 Experiences of Compassion

I’ve recently been engaging with the Way of the Bodhisattva and have thus been practicing and studying prajna and karuna (wisdom and compassion). Compassion is an unfortunately misunderstood and watered down term in general usage/discussion–something I will return to another time. For now, I’d like to share two recent and seemingly connected experiences.


I have been attending a sangha (a Buddhist community) meeting run by a former instructor and personal inspiration of mine. While at the most recent session, I meditated, and as per usual, I felt the discomfort of the half-lotus sitting position, the coughs and wheezes of nearby practitioners, and the turbulent memories and thoughts about all the transition and pain of the last few months which still pulse in my life. Yet, I felt an intense warmth and utter gratitude for everything. I felt profound connection with all those in the room around me. I could sense the whirrings of their thoughts, their difficulty breathing, also their serenity and presence. I felt such deep joy and sadness all at once–too big and profound for words, filling up my chest to the point of nearly bursting. Such tenderness lies within the awakened heart.


The next day, I walked around my work building on a shared break with a co-worker. We make 2 laps around during our breaks. Near the end of the second lap, an injured bird lay before me on the sidewalk–directly in my path. I slowed and gently tried to pick it up so that I could put it in one of the bushes or tufts of grass nearby–hopefully protecting it from further injury and allowing it to heal. As I daintily cradled it in my hands, it fluttered to life, and I could feel its sheer terror at this situation–no longer able to move and flit about to safety and comfort. It flew just enough to come out of my hand and plop back onto the ground. I had to try again a few times, feeling the visceral fear each time I held the bird. Eventually, I carried him a few feet off the path, and his attempted escape landed him in a bunch of grass where he could rest. I walked away.

The last time I had such a compassionate moment of protecting a helpless bird, my life fell into complete chaos not too long after and that was likewise preceded by experiences of profound joy-gratitude-sadness (all mixed together). What comes this time? I know not–perhaps that synchronicity is only apparent. Either way, such beauty has seldom shone through as a moment of being awake in my life.

Karuna

In the service of all sentient beings,

Gassho.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. taishendo
    Jan 26, 2015 @ 21:28:58

    A beautiful post!

    Like

    Reply

    • zeuslyone
      Jan 27, 2015 @ 16:50:15

      A bow of gratitude, taishendo. Thank you for your continued support and companionship on the Way. I hope that the myriad ebbs and flow of your daily life continue to inspire your own awakened practice.

      Gassho,
      Z

      Like

      Reply

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