Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the virtue of loving kindness

One who actively develops loving kindness,
Mindfully and without limit,
Sees their attachments wane;
Their bonds become worn thin.

If one shows kindness with a clear mind—
Even once!–for living creatures,
By that one becomes wholesome.
Having mercy in his or her heart for all creatures,
A noble person brings forth abundant goodness.

Those who conquer the earth, teeming with beings,
—Kings and priests who scurry around sacrificing—
They surely do not partake in even a sixteenth part
Of the heart well developed in loving kindness
—Shining like the moon among all the crowd of stars.

One who neither kills nor makes others kill,
Neither steals nor makes others steal
Is one who has love for all living beings,
And no hatred for anyone at all.

Itivuttaka 21-22 = III.7 = 27
translation, Andy Olendzki

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

standing in our own way

In Our Own Way

Ever turned toward what we create, we see in it
only reflections of the Open, darkened by us.
Except when an animal silently looks at us through and through.
This is our fate: to stand
in our own way. Forever
in the way.

From the Eighth Duino Elegy (see link below for source)

This poem sounds fatalistic, but I think only because we so often do stand in our own way. Yet getting out of the way in any individual moment is a very real possibility. We just need to be awake. Being awake in one moment reinforces the possibility of increased wakeful and attentive moments in the future.

A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated and edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows. NewYork: HarperCollins. 2009.