Tag Archives: compassion

may all beings be free from suffering

Many of you already know about Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback who’s been accused of running a dog-fighting operation out of his Bad Newz Kennels (I guess he can throw a football but he can’t spell.) Here’s a dude making a gazillion dollars playing football and the knucklehead thinks he’s a big bad thug in the ‘hood. And if the dog-fighting isn’t bad enough, he’s charged with other counts of animal abuse because he killed the dogs that did not perform to his standards by hanging, beating, or electrocuting them. These are the sports role models that kids have to look up to today. Athletes like Walter Payton are probably rolling in their graves. By the way, the above picture is NOT Michael Vick — Russell Simmons is a hip-hop record producer AND a yogi.

Yeah, yeah, I know that everyone is “innocent” until proven guilty, but as Vanessa writes about Michael Vick here and here, Vick’s co-defendant is singing like a canary and unless the ghost of Johnny Cochran appears, Vick is history just like his dogs.

As a Buddhist I believe in karma, cause and effect, what goes around comes around. And I’m thinking that when Vick goes to that football stadium in the sky, he’s coming back as a pit bull or one of the small animals like a cat or rabbit — sometimes stolen, but also procured from those “free to a good home” ads — that those oh so macho guys throw in the ring to give their dogs a taste of blood. There is a special place in the hell realms for Vick and others like him.

As much as Michael Vick’s actions sicken me, I also feel sorry for him, believe it or not. I am an animal lover to the core, and Gandhi said that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” When I hear about animal abuse or child abuse or abuse of any kind, I wonder what was so lacking in someone’s life that they have no hesitation whatsoever to inflict such suffering on another living thing. I wonder how someone can be so completely shut down that they don’t even realize what they are doing, especially ultimately to themselves.

I want Vick prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but man, what is it that makes him think that there is nothing wrong in what he did? What is in the deepest recess of his soul that takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other apart and then think nothing of hanging the loser? I read that Vick was the “big money man” at the dog fights and would bet thousands of dollars on his dogs…so was it greed? Buddha said that all the misery in the world is caused by three things: attachment, aversion, and ignorance.

Many people suffer at the hands of their abusers but do not become abusers themselves. Many people grow up amidst violence but somehow rise above it to have peaceful hearts. Why is it one way for some and not for others? Karma…and choices.

During a dharma reading to my yoga class this morning, I thought about Michael Vick. The Buddhist writer wrote that if we look beneath the surface deeply enough, we begin to realize that everyone wants the same thing: that everyone, no matter who they are, wishes for happiness and freedom from suffering. I’ve heard the Dalai Lama say that true compassion is seeing everyone as ourselves and seeing ourselves in other people.

I believe that every human heart is capable of the Four Immeasurables — love, compassion, joy, and equanimity — sigh…even people like Michael Vick. If I did not believe it, I would not be a Buddhist.

Maybe Michael Vick should be sentenced to do some community service with Little Lotus Hearts. Little Lotus Hearts provides services to people who have a deep love and respect for animals. As Tibetan Buddhist practitioners, the founders believe in the Buddhist teaching that all sentient beings are equal, in that they all wish for happiness and the avoidance of suffering.

Might be a good place for him to start practicing compassion and ahimsa. Once he gets out of jail.

"scared sacred"

From the YouTube website: “”If ordinary human beings can see their own suffering then perhaps they become aware of the suffering of others.” Scared Sacred website.

Why is it that so many people who call themselves or their beliefs “sacred” scare so many people in the name of “sacredness”?

The film opens in Bhopal, India, the site of the Union Carbide disaster, and the filmmaker travels to places such as Bosnia, Afganistan, Cambodia, and New York City post-9/11, to explore the Ground Zeros where the sacred is still inside the scared, inside the hearts of the people. Even in the worst places, there is still hope.

It is a very powerful trailer, and I can only imagine the power of the entire movie. I am buying the DVD. If you see this movie, please leave your comments.

“breathe in suffering. breathe out compassion.”


Gehlek Rimpoche

Throughout this blog I have mentioned my spiritual teacher, Gehlek Rimpoche. I’ve just returned from a one week retreat with him on the subject of developing compassion. I consider myself very fortunate to study with this man who was recognized as an incarnate lama and is from the last generation of lamas to be fully educated in “good old Tibet” (as Rimpoche calls it) before his escape in 1959.

While I have not studied with him for as long as many people have, Rimpoche has touched my heart. He has the same presence as the Dalai Lama, that is, when he talks to you, he makes you feel as if you are the only one in the room. And I love hugging him! I told him that hugging him is like hugging a big teddy bear!

I’ve posted this YouTube video just to give you a sample of him. This video is from a talk he gave in Malaysia in May, 2007 on Buddhism in the 21st century. This talk is continued in a series of videos on YouTube if you are interested.

During last week’s retreat he told us how very precious this life is, how wonderful and important we are, and how we should never waste any opportunities that present themselves to us because we can accomplish anything…including total enlightenment in this lifetime. Buddhahood is available for each and every one of us, we only have to water the seeds of our own buddha-nature.

He reminded us how we should stop staying “I’ll do (fill in the blank) next time…” because “next time” never comes. How true is that? How often do we continually say that we’ll do such and such “next time”? Buddha taught that death is certain, but that the time of death is uncertain.

Live your lives by asking yourselves “if not now, when?” Truly LIVE your lives, don’t sleep-walk through them, half-awake to the beauty and joy that surrounds you every minute of the day.

Also, here is an excerpt from “The Hidden Treasure of the Heart”, an article by Aura Glaser in the July Shambhala Sun. Aura was one of the two women responsible for bringing Rimpoche to the United States way back when. Thankfully they brought him to my neck of the woods, the Heartland of America, the Midwest, instead of the East or West Coasts (they have enough yogis and Buddhists anyway!)

I bow to Rimpoche and to Buddha Shakyamuni…



peace to you all…