Tuesday, March 08, 2011

For Lent

For Lent, I will practice compassion. Or try to. Quietly, in my heart.

A while back I read Paul Knitter's "Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian." My previous knowledge of Buddhism came from a high school class in comparative religions. There would be a list of terms (Nirvana, the Buddha), main ideas, history, and a lot of how Buddhism is not like Christianity. The take-away: Buddhism doesn't amount to much specific. Knitter studied Buddhism, not as a scholar but as a practitioner, meditating, working with teachers, and found it opened his mind about Christianity, a mind that had become weary and bored and tone-deaf to decades of church language. He was a Catholic theologian to begin with, and now considers himself both Christian and practicing Buddhist.

One thing I learned from reading his book is that meditation and mindfulness in Buddhism are not for oneself and one's own navel. One practicies these disciplines for the benefit of the world. Compassion is rooted in meditation and quiet. Breath and spirit produce compassion and works of love.

So for Lent, I will work on mindfulness and quietness, and see what grows out of that. A bigger world, I hope. A bigger heart.

"I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me with his arms.
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms."

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