Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Via Tricycle / October 3, 2016: Extending Care to All

Learning to extend our care out into the world is one of the main projects of practice—rather than focusing solely on our own well being, we consider the fates of all beings.

The news these days may make it seem as though few put this practice into action, but there are always those out there who live their lives with others in mind. This week on Trike Daily, read “The Great Rabbit Liberation,” the inspiring story of Buddhist practitioner Wendy Cook who saved over 100 rabbits from being butchered by purchasing every last one. “There are so many things I can’t do,” Cook said, referencing large social ills like homelessness and warfare. “This was a moment where I felt that I could make a difference.”

Then there are those who devote their entire lives to others. Dr. Grace Dammann is a physician best known for her work during the AIDS epidemic; in 2009 she was recognized by the Dalai Lama for her efforts. Her identity as a caretaker was upended, however, after she was paralyzed in a near-fatal car crash on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008. This month’s Film Club selection, States of Grace, documents her recovery and her recommitment to Zen practice, offering a nuanced look at what it means to be both a caretaker and the recipient of care.

At times, we’re the ones who need caring for. But this gets tricky—self-help can become a quagmire when we believe we’re the sole creator of our problems and therefore the only one who can solve them. In this month’s Dharma Talk series, The Emptiness of Selfie Existence, former Buddhist monk Christopher Titmuss helps us loosen the reigns on our ego, allowing an inner clarity to arise within us. From here, we build a stable foundation of care in our hearts, and become capable of an altruism that knows no bounds.