Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Everything is Connected; Nothing Lasts; You Are Not Alone."

"Sometimes when I’m asked to describe the Buddhist teachings, I say this: Everything is connected; nothing lasts; you are not alone. This is really just a restatement of the traditional Three Marks of Existence: non-self, impermanence, and suffering. I don’t think I would have expressed the truth of suffering as “you are not alone” before my illnesses, but now I find that talking about it that way gets at something important. The fact that we all suffer means we are all in the same boat, and that’s what allows us to feel compassion." 
This quote is from  "The Authentic Life", Lewis Richmond interviewed by Andrew Cooper, in Tricycle Magazine, Summer 2010.  Brilliant, I think, and brand new to me.  Want more?  Click on the link above for the whole interview.  Here's another tidbit:

"Without the misfortune of my illnesses I would not be able to teach in the way I do today, which includes advising and counseling people about illness and loss. So in a dharmic sense, my illnesses were also gifts. The encephalitis brought me to my knees; but in Buddhist practice, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I got to find out what is really important, whether we’re talking about Buddhist practice or life in general.
When you take everything away, what have you got? That was the situation I had to work with. Having had everything stripped away, I understand that Buddha-mind does not depend on our capacities. The engine of practice is always there going. I unlearned a lot."

Lewis Richmond has written two books, Work as Spiritual Practice, and Healing Lazuarus.  His third, Aging as a Spiritual Practice, is due out in 2012.

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