The Company We Keep

Scattered through the Dharma teachings is the idea that the images we watch, the stories we read and the company we keep can leave karmic imprints that may come back to haunt us. So too can the angry feelings we experience when others express opinions we don’t agree with or find abhorrent. The past year in politics, and the current political discontents, are good examples of a highly-charged environment ripe with karmic instability. The easiest thing might just be to withdraw. Take to the cushion, and watch old movies for a break. But here’s the problem with that: the current environment  needs our input. It needs every ounce of Buddhist compassion we can muster, every ounce we can imagine–hundreds of thousands of millions of buckets of compassion–to compensate for the hate and the powerful self-interests that are forever trying to wrest control of our politics.

We need to stay engaged. And won’t it be easier to do it together? Perhaps more than ever the Sangha can be our refuge.

This month Shantideva Meditation Center is running a campaign of its own, but a wholly joyous one with offering bowls brimming over with Bodhisattva goodwill and inspiration. We are hoping to raise $6,000 by February 27 to support our center’s activities and to bolster the personal practices of our members and guests. We welcome you to join us and practice with us, and, if you can, donate here. As Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, “Even just the mere thought to cause happiness for sentient beings, to benefit them, to free them from suffering—this is the best offering to all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.”

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This post was written by Jane, a longtime student of Buddhism and volunteer with Shantideva Meditation Center.

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