10 Sep
Posted in: Practice, Social Justice, Talks
By    Comments Off on I Wonder If I Should Help

I Wonder If I Should Help

For today, more from the interview with Jack Kornfield I quoted yesterday.

In Zen, they say there are only two things: you sit and you sweep the garden. And it doesn’t matter how big the garden is. That is, you learn to quiet the mind and open the heart and to remember in that stillness what really matters. Those are the values of the heart and who you are. You discover that who you are is loving-awareness itself, incarnated into this mystery. And as you do, the sense of connection to life shows itself. You don’t even have to cultivate it. As you get quiet, you feel it and you know it. And then you get up from your cushion and you sweep the garden. If people are hungry, you feed them. If people are sick and you have medicine, you offer it, because they’re part of you.


When you hurt your hand, if you’re slicing tomatoes in the kitchen and you accidentally cut yourself, you don’t go, “Oh, that poor hand. I wonder if I should help it. Should I do something about it?” It’s you! It’s part of you. It’s so deeply obvious that you wash it and you put on a Band-Aid or whatever. And as you quiet the mind and open the heart, you begin to realize that the world is you, that you are the world. And so it becomes a spontaneous and beautiful expression of your fundamental Buddha-nature, your fundamental goodness, that you tend the world.

Without mindfulness or compassion training, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think, “Well, all the problems of the world are too great. I just have to get through the day and try as best I can.” Mindfulness makes it easier to step out of the sense of being overwhelmed. You see with clearly. And you realize: “I can respond in some way. I have some agency and capacity. And I can add my piece.”

And by adding your drop into the river–the river of justice or the river of mutual care or the river of caring for the environment–it nurtures you, and it nurtures the world.


(read the full interview here

Comments are closed.