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Daily Connect: The Tragedy in Charleston Today

When I heard about the mass murder in Charleston, SC this morning, my first reaction was an awful feeling of sadness, quickly followed by outrage, then blame.  I thought to myself, "It's the fault of the NRA, ineffectual politicians, institutional racism, a bad educational system, poor mental health services, Democrats, Republicans, Fox News, Citizens United and a corrupt political system, etc., etc., etc."  Then I thought to tell everyone else about how awful this is and how they should do something and considered posting about it on Facebook and Twitter.

But then I remembered the Buddhist ideal of the Bodhisattva, a person who devotes their life to helping themselves and all others to awaken to the reality of interdependence, impermanence, suffering, cause and effect, and ultimately to the stainless nature of our minds.  The Bodhisattva is not concerned with blame, and doesn't wish or pray for someone else to intercede to assist the world and its problems.  Ven. Robina Courtin says a Bodhisattva's pledge is, "I WILL DO IT!  I will create the causes and conditions for a peaceful and equitable world of awakening."

It certainly is true that there are many causes and conditions that allow racism and easy access to guns to continue to exist in the U.S.  But blaming isn't my responsibility.  My responsibility is to use my inherent compassion and wisdom to understand my mind, and to use my thoughts, speech, and actions to skillfully help create harmony in the world.  This includes educating myself on how racism operates in my country and community, looking at my prejudices and unconscious biases, as well as training my mind in lovingkindness to temper my judgments, and practicing insight to balance my expectations and let go of my attachment to outcome. 

May we recognize each other as sisters and brothers, and together create a world of love and clarity.  Bows to each of you for your goodness and kind efforts!   

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