By Dennis Sienko
Due to Covid-19, we are living in a heightened sense of unknowing that escalates nervousness in our society and ourselves. This in turn, affects our health almost as much as the virus itself and affects how we relate to others. We see people arguing and getting violent about social distancing precautions, whether to wear a facemask or even to attend a large church or spiritual gathering. How a person acts in relation to other people depends on one’s internal sense of well-being. If one is excited and nervous, they will tend to act irrationally and with judgement.
One of the best cures or remedies for this excited, nervous and irrational condition is zazen. Zazen allows the nervousness, worry and sorrow from these times to become more manageable by calming the mind. After regular periods of zazen, one begins to become more peaceful and poised. We begin to cultivate a deep, wonderful inner quiet from which compassion naturally arises. This compassion helps us to accept life’s experiences as they are. It helps us relate to others in a way that does not escalate into violence.
Yúnyán asked, “The bodhisattva of great compassion uses the many hands and eyes for what?” Dàowú said, “As if it’s night and a person gropes with their hand behind their body for the pillow.”
In other words, compassion flows naturally, without effort. It flows without expecting something in return. Compassion is always present. The secret is to allow it to flow.
You are by nature compassionate. Use your many hands and eyes and bring forth that compassion. First, start by using many of those hands to give yourself a hug. See the world through the eyes of others. Compassion is the cure to this virus. We need to show compassion to people we agree with and to those we disagree with. We need to show compassion to all sentient beings, small and large.
If we can become more compassionate, we as individuals can make the world a better, safer place. Start with daily zazen practice, trust the process and all will be as it should be.