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A Gift of Dharma for 4.12.11

Today’s quote is from our friend Bodhipaksa Dharmacari, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community and founder of the online Buddhist community Wildmind, for which I have written in the past. His books include Still the Mind: Simple Breathing Practices for Inner PeaceVegetarianism: A Buddhist View, The Wisdom of the Breath: Three Guided Meditations for Calming the Mind Cultivating Insight, and the aptly-titled Wildmind: A Step-by-Step Guide to Meditation.

Bodhipaksa’s new book Living as a River: Finding Fearlessness in the Face of Change, which he was kind enough to send to me, is especially unique in that it offers rich new instruction on the traditional Six Element Practice. You can find out more about the book and read samples at the website of its publisher Sounds True.

This is the quote — a snippet from Living as a River that I especially liked (pg. 307):

One of the paradoxes found in Buddhist teachings is the idea that we cannot be truly compassionate toward other beings unless we abandon the idea that they have selves. Defining others is the cruelest thing we can do to them, because it denies their true nature, which is change. In a sense, we become others’ jailers when we imprison them in our fixed view of them. It’s only when we see selves as inherently becoming the we are able to respond to others without judgment and with a compassionate response that encourages the emergence of their own Buddha-like qualities of insight and compassion. It’s only when we recognize that selves are rivers, flowing onwards in a never-ending process of becoming, that we are able to be fully compassionate.

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