Back in the late 1900s, (I kid you not, it was 1997!) my now-husband and I spent just under a year travelling around America in a camper van. It was the most amazing adventure and something I have thought of often in the last few weeks as the Gabby Petito murder unfolds. At the same time, I am currently involved with a local NGO’s GBV (Gender Based Violence) project. I do M&E (Monitoring and Evaluation) work from home and honestly, it is awful reading case after case of people hurting each other in terrible ways.
Just as, even I, was beginning to wonder where I was going with this, I remembered a talk I heard many years ago by an American Buddhist nun, Thubten Chodren. The details are sketchy in my memory but she was talking about ethical conduct for Buddhists. She spoke about starting every day with the wish to not harm other beings and to be of benefit in any way you can, but it is what she said next that has stayed with me all these years. She said, imagine if every creature, no matter how tiny, knew that is was safe near you, that you would not harm them, you would not take what belonged to them and you would not lie to them.
Here, in our house, my dad, who died in August, despite his brain so badly damaged by Alzhiemer’s, knew he was safe and loved. As I looked around the room, Frikkie, our Dapple Daschund was flat on his back, legs in the air, fast asleep on what used to be my dad’s Wingback armchair and is now most definitely Frikkie’s. Colt, our elderly giant breed who has fecal incontinence, (you have no idea what that means in a 50kg dog!) was sleeping on his cushion and my husband, the kindest, loveliest man I know was working on his computer opposite me.
I may not have the power to help a single person enduring the violence and abuse I read about every day but here in my home and in my life, I am doing my best to not harm a single being, no matter how tiny. I do my utmost to be of benefit where I can and I work incredibly hard to honour my vow to not take what does not belong to me, and, to the best of my ability, speak the truth.
Is this not the insignificant magnificence of Dharma in daily life?
Till next time,
The lazy Buddhist