The Excellence of Bodhichitta: The Value Of Kindness

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Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior. the Practices of meditation, loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity are our tools. With help of these practices, we can uncover the “soft-spot” Bodhichitta. We will find that tenderness in sorrow and in gratitude. We will find it behind the hardness of rage and in the shakiness of fear. It is available in loneliness as well as in kindness.

A Warrior-in-training 

A few years ago, I met a man who thought all women were evil. What a sweeping statement, I thought. There are people of both genders who do evil deeds.  Evil has no preference to gender or race, not to my way of thinking.  I tried to befriend this person whose aloofness should have been a warning that I was stepping on stony ground. Yet, I was compelled in some odd way to try,  although we had little in common. Still,  I hoped to  offer some sort of  support,  perhaps just  a smile, or a cheery hello when we met. Perhaps a cup of coffee to break the ice now and then.  I had no idea at the time, that  I had entered forbidden territory altogether. Any attempt to be friendly would be met with difficulty and finally failure for, I would soon find  out  that trying to be of help to him , I was in fact,  a repellent of sorts, a “persona non grata .”  A better Warrior than me would not have tried. They would have let well alone.  I guess in Warrior training it is not all about how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to the discomfort of  the outcome.   Yes indeed!

Another Warrior-in-training

For Pancho, the whole World, every moment, is his field of Metta practice.When he was recently asked what nourishes him, his response was clear: meditation and small acts of kindness. Meditation deepens his awareness while small acts of kindness deepens his inter-connectedness. Or as Pancho would sum it up, “Meditation is the DNA of the kindness revolution.” Ever since he first went to a meditation retreat, he has continued to meditate everyday.”Pancho 2.0″ is what he calls himself since then. It was as if he discovered a new technology to battle our burning world.

Spirituality often sees activism as unnecessarily binding, while activism often sees spirituality as a navel-gazing escape. For Pancho, though, the two paths merge into one. Meditation is internal service, while service is external meditation.

In Arizona, when Pancho was arrested for protesting immigration laws that President Obama called unconstitutional, he smiles peacefully for his mug shot. The Sheriff yells out an order: “Stop smiling.”Immediately, it mirrors the ridiculousness of the request. Several years ago, some of Pancho’s friends lived in a tree to ignite a conversation around “chopping down 300 year old trees in 30 minutes.” When the authorities put a barricade around the tree to starve the tree-sitters, Pancho showed up to meditate and spread “Metta” (loving kindness) to all those around him. While sitting peacefully under the tree, he was arrested. His offense quite literally read: “Disturbing the peace.”

I suppose one could say being a warrior-in-training is a form of disturbing the peace, ha! 

 

source: small excerpt about Pancho was originally written for Parabola Magazine, by Nipun Mehta . 

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