Compassionate Acceptance is Like Being in Love

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Practicing compassionate acceptance

is like being in love

and seeing the face of the beloved

in every moment

as if for the first time.

Cheri Huber

Zen Teacher, Cheri Huber, reminds us that every time we practice compassionate acceptance we open our hearts and fall in love with the person before us.  Compassion is not a sacrifice we make for the other, it is a celebration of our interdependence and the love that expands our world.

We often recoil in fear, afraid to reach out, and imagine the “other” may intrude on our space.  We forget that compassion does not oblige us, but rather enhances our liveliness and depth of experience.

Compassionate acceptance begins with ourselves.  Notice how you may treat yourself as “other”, speaking down to yourself as if you were another person.  Collapse the inner divide by taking a breath and letting go of the internal chatter….again and again.  This is an act of radical acceptance and love.

In your outer life challenge yourself to engage in the world freshly, even in the smallest of ways. Appreciate your housemate’s contributions to your life, learn about opportunities in your community to contribute to a cause or open a book that enriches your understanding of people who are suffering or in need.

Children naturally open to world with curiosity and caring, accepting sorrow as well as delight.  As adults, we need to actively remember that this compassionate acceptance is our fundamental nature and an opportunity to connect deeply in “every moment as if for the first time.”

Tranquility and Insight in the New Year

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Two things will lead you to supreme understanding. What are those two? Tranquility and insight.

If you develop tranquillity, what benefit can you expect? Your mind will develop. The benefit of a developed mind is that you are no longer a slave to your impulses.

If you develop insight, what benefit will it bring? You will find wisdom. and the point of developing wisdom is that it brings you freedom from the blindness of ignorance.

A mind held bound by unconsidered impulse and ignorance can never develop true understanding.  But by way of tranquillity and insight the mind will find freedom.

–  The Buddha

Pouring water over the Buddha’s body is an act of devotion and new beginnings.  At Shwedagon temple in Yangon my husband joins hundreds of worshippers in this ritual of purification and commitment to the Buddhist path of tranquility and wisdom.  The moment was serene and full of delight.

Often the practice of bathing the Buddha is done on the day celebrated for his birth, enlightenment and death.  Below a woman baths the baby Buddha at the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul.

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Both these photos were taken on trips to collect images for my books, The Female Buddha (with quotes by women teachers) and The Luminous Buddha (with quotes by the Buddha).  Please click on these links to find out more!

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