The pandemic continues to be a difficult time for many people. We are fortunate to have access to tools that we can use to help ourselves and others. We can refer to Venerable Geshe Thubten Loden’s remarkable books for guidance and inspiration. Geshe-la would remind us that his books are not ordinary books that you read once then leave on the shelf, but should be opened regularly for study and practice!
- Remembering impermanence
Reflecting on impermanence is rocket fuel for our practice. If we forget impermanence, our life gets consumed by busyness. Right now, when the ground beneath us feels shaky, we can more easily understand impermanence. Find a verse that resonates with you in the chapter on death and impermanence in any one of Geshe-la’s three Path to Enlightenment texts, and use this for your reflection and meditation.
- Staying grounded
If we create a solid foundation through regular meditation practice, we can more easily weather the storms. If you aren’t a regular meditator, then now is a great time to start! Many of us could benefit from spending 20 minutes less on our phones and putting it aside for daily meditation practice. You can start simply with mindfulness practice (e.g. breath meditation), or refer to the chapter on ‘How to Meditate’ in the Meditations on the Path to Enlightenment book to explore a structured meditation practice.
- Kindness and compassion
The core Buddhist teachings are centred around loving-kindness and compassion. The pandemic has shown us how we are interdependent at a global level. Use this understanding to foster feelings of kindness and compassion toward all beings, our shared humanity. It is important to start with kindness and compassion towards ourselves, then slowly extend outwards until our kind and compassionate wishes encompass all beings. You can read about the benefits of practicing loving-kindness and compassion by looking up ‘great love’ and ‘great compassion’ in any of Geshe-la’s Path to Enlightenment texts.
- Staying connected
Staying connected and reaching out to each other is especially important right now. The Buddha emphasised the importance of the Sangha jewel. In a general sense, this refers to our Buddhist community, which is a precious resource for friendship, and support with our Buddhist practice. We are all in this together, and with connection, we are stronger.