Thursday, February 25, 2010

Compassion Works!

A lot of people have expended huge time and energy trying to convince us that torture works. That’s the wrong playing field in my view. I mean, where do you go from there? Murder works? Greed works? Rape works? Pillaging works? I mean, where do you stop?

Let’s take this playing field instead: Compassion works. Now here is a place that offers lots of room to move around and go somewhere. First of all, who’s gonna argue with it? Well, maybe some will, but then we can make use of compassion and say. Gee, you don’t want any? What’s with that? Tell us more. (Maybe they don’t feel they deserve it, for example. Or maybe they’re afraid of trusting.

Compassion is something you can give away. It’s not against the law. It’s not immoral or illegal. It can be done without words, whether you know someone’s language or not. No interpreter needed. No interrogators to be trained. Just think – a tactic that works across cultures – and builds alliances. Why, we could send compassion ambassadors around the world, instead of torture advisers. Think of the difference!

Seems to me that every major spiritual tradition is based on the idea that compassion works. And people seem to universally celebrate those who exercise compassion, particularly under the most trying circumstances, such as inside concentration camps or war zones or in the midst of horrible ethnic violence. It’s the voices of compassion, the courageous acts of compassion, in the face of great dangers especially, that we seem to remember and celebrate. Often these people are quiet individuals, who have risen to extraordinary acts of compassion and generosity and courage, simply because they believed it was right and necessary to act – in spite of threats and dangers.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ash Wednesday

A tribute first published here.
RememberingLux Umbra Dei

Ash Wednesday
In the Dharma hall
Few words
Tell it all

Are you
Ashes now?
Bless your ashes
Anoint my brow

Am I
Your Dharma heir?
Sprinkle your ashes
Upon my hair

Ash Wednesday
In the Dharma hall
"No Question"
That is all

We may never know.