When I think about compassion the image of the Lord Buddha bathing the sick, excrement covered monk who had been abandoned by his companions comes to mind more than anything else. It goes without saying that the Tathagata had perfected all of the virtues but his ability to put aside disgust and offer true, compassionate service is something which I am striving to attain.
Which brings me to my point : here, in NYC, summer is upon us which means the thousands of homeless people are seeking refuge from the heat in trains and stations. In the past I have shrunk away from them fire to their foul smell and an almost instinctual fear of contagion but what if I didn’t? What if I simply made myself present to them? Some time ago I made sure that I always had a bottle of hand sanitizer with me so I could shake any hands proffered so any not just prepare a little better so I can be of help?
In other words, I think I’ll take the time to create a little help pack with necessities like bottled water, wipes and medicines so I can offer help directly without fear of putting my health in danger and truly connecting with the person. For my part , it’s all fine and good to donate cash but there is nothing quite as rewarding or thrilling as opening a connection to someone. I’ll need to do some more research but I’ll be back to this later.