Wednesday, April 1, 2015

__________________________ THE KIND HEART ________________________

This is one of three books I have read by Kathleen McDonald (Sangye Khandro) who was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun in 1971. She's taught for decades as part of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a worldwide organisation of Buddhist teaching and meditation centers. She is the author of the bestselling 'How to Meditate' [Absolutely the best 'How To' book on Meditation I have ever read ] and the coauthor with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, of 'Wholesome Fear'. I have found her teachings simple, clear, direct and extremely useful.

You don't have to dress in saffron robes, head off to a cave in the Himalayas, wrestle with esoteric theology or become a religious convert to reap the benefits of meditation. Buddhism is the same as the heart of all the great religious traditions correctly understood - meditation, contemplation, prayer, love and kindness within the imperatives of morality consistently applied, bring about in the fullness of time - transformation.

"Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion." - His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

"Everyone appreciates kindness. A smile, a few friendly words, a show of concern when we're troubled or feeling unwell, an offer of help - gestures of kindness like these brighten our day and ease whatever sadness we may feel in our hearts. Feeling that "someone cares about me" fulfills a very deep need that we all have. And just as we appreciate other people being kind to us, others appreciate it when we are kind to them. That is why it is important to learn to be kind, because it will help make our relationships and interactions with others more satisfying and more problem free.

But it's not always easy to be kind. Sometimes our hearts are filled with anger or hatred, jealousy, or pride, and being kind is the last thing we feel like doing. Or we get so caught up in our work and responsibilities that we find no time to think of others and their needs, no time to be kind and gentle. However, these problems can be remedied. The Buddhist tradition offers a wealth of methods that can be used to overcome whatever prevents us from being kind, such as anger or selfishness, and to practice kindness more in our daily life. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "My religion is loving kindness."

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