"Even as a mother protects with her life her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart, should one cherish all living beings." - Karaniya Metta Sutta
The quote above is from the Karaniya Metta Sutta, or the Buddha's Discourse on Loving Kindness. This teaching is directly referring to how we as practitioners can respond to all beings with a compassionate and charitable heart.
It was not long ago that a friend of mine put a request out to all of her facebook contacts to pray for her sister and the battle over cancer that she was embarking upon. In this time of need, loving support can make such a difference in individuals' lives. The picture posted here is Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, also known as Guan Yin in Chinese, Kwan Seum in Korean, and Kannon in Japanese. This is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, literally translating to "One who hears the cries of the world". I have continued to practice chanting the mantra of Avalokiteshvara (and made requests to others to do the same) for all beings who are suffering, and in particular for the needs of my friend's sister, whom I have never personally met.
This post is not to stroke my ego, or the egos of those who have stepped to the plate to help. I consider this to be my job, obligation, and privilege, and am honored to walk among people who feel the same way. I am sharing because I have been thinking a great deal about this woman and in the efforts to support her struggle.
The Buddha taught that in life, suffering or dis-ease is inherent. Our bodies become old and used up, illness occurs, and conditions that arise may be less than satisfactory to us. This is a tough lesson to accept! How then, can we respond to this in a manner that helps to cool the sting? The Loving Kindness Sutta is clear. Loving action is it! Once we relinquish the need to control, we can let go of the need to question why this has happend and instead respond to the situation in a way that offers compassion.
I have witnessed this family and their friends rally with positivity and resolve. Whether or not it happened in their private world, I have not seen any denial about the reality, nor any expressed anger at the situation. I have only seen love, support, and a "just do it" attitude to help her through. This is the teaching. To respond to suffering and dis-ease through love.
May you have ease, health, peace, and love fill your life.
Kwan Seum Bosal