Here are some of the passages I read tonight:
“If your house is flooded or burnt to the ground, whatever the threat to it, let it concern only the house. If there’s a flood, don’t let it flood your mind. If there’s a fire, don’t let it burn your heart. Let it be merely the house, that which is outside of you, that is flooded or burned. Now is the time to allow the mind to let go… of attachments.
You’ve been alive a long time now. Your eyes have seen any number of forms and colors, your ears have heard so many sounds, you’ve had any number of experiences. And that’s all they were – experiences. You’ve eaten delicious foods, and all those good tastes were just good tastes, nothing more. The bad tastes were just bad tastes, that’s all. If the eye sees a beautiful form that’s all it is… a beautiful form. An ugly form is just an ugly form. The ear hears an entrancing, melodious sound and it’s nothing more than that. A grating, discordant sound is simply that.
The Buddha said that rich or poor, young or old, human or animal, no being in this world can maintain itself in any single state for long. Everything experiences change and deprivation. This is a fact of life about which we can do nothing to remedy. But the Buddha said that what we can do is to contemplate the body and mind to see their impersonality, that neither of them is ”me” nor ”mine.” They have only a provisional reality. It’s like this house, it’s only nominally yours. You couldn’t take it with you anywhere. The same applies to your wealth, your possessions and your family – they’re yours only in name. They don’t really belong to you, they belong to nature.
Now this truth doesn’t apply to you alone, everyone is in the same boat – even the Lord Buddha and his enlightened disciples. They differed from us only in one respect, and that was their acceptance of the way things are. They saw that it could be no other way.”
— Ajahn Chah from Our Real Home
I Go Among Trees and Sit Still
by Wendell Berry
I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle…
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
“You should not allow suffering to overwhelm you, but if you know how to look deeply into suffering and learn from it, then you have the wisdom of understanding and compassion.
There is no lotus flower possible without the mud. There is no understanding and compassion without suffering. I would never want to send my children to a place where there is no suffering, because in such a place they would have no chance to learn how to understand and to be compassionate. It is by touching suffering, understanding suffering, that you have a chance to understand people and their suffering. Because of your own suffering, you begin to know what it means to be compassionate….A place where there is no understanding and compassion is hell.”
— Thich Nhat Hahn, The Nobility of Suffering from Dharma, Color and Culture
To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring;
It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off…
It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
Here is a great post by a dharma friend, Marguerite Manteau-Rao, summarizing Gil’s talk on the events in Japan:
And, finally, here is the link to Gil’s talk.