Okay, we’re back to our meditations. Now remember we’re doing an act of truth meditation, and don’t forget what that means. In ancient India… I remember for example, the Buddha might say something like this… the Buddha had a cousin Devadatta who was very jealous of him, and i remember there’s a story where he—Devadatta—gets sick and Lord Buddha tries to put his hand on his head to measure his temperature, and Devadatta is so jealous of the Buddha that he gets angry and he says, “Take your hand off me”. “You’re trying to hurt me.” “You’re doing voodoo on me.”
And then lord Buddha says, “I wasn’t doing voodoo I was trying to help you.” And Devadatta said, “no no you weren’t trying to help me” and then Buddha says “Look, let’s do the act of truth thing okay?” And Devadatta is like “what’s an act of truth?” And he says, “Look over here is thE Ganges river…” If you’ve ever been to the Ganges river I mean it’s unbelievable… if you’re in a train it might take an hour to cross the Ganges on a bridge, it’s unbelievable. It’s a unbelievable huge river, beautiful river.
And Buddha says to his cousin, “Look, let’s do an act of truth.” “If I was trying to help you and not hurt you, then may the Ganges river float backwards right now!” And then the Ganges river will go… and then it will start to flow backwards, back up to the Himalayas, and I like to think of… we have a big waterfall here in America called Niagara Falls. So just imagine thousands of tons of water going backwards, that’s called an act of truth.
And it’s a tradition in our lineage to do an act of truth, so what kind of act of truth are we going to do here? We have something going on with the virus. Of course the virus is hurting people, making people sick, killing people. But aside from the virus, we have a huge amount of fear right now, there’s rioting in the streets, there was a little bit, but I don’t mean everyone is like screaming or something like that. But there’s sort of a a deep silent fear of what’s going on. We don’t know how long it’s going to be. We don’t know how long it’s going to go on for. We don’t know what’s going to happen to our family; to our job. There’s sort of a deep undercurrent of fear going on in our societies, all of our societies right now.
So let’s try to send that fear to the middle of the sun. Let’s destroy that fear okay? We’re going to do an act of truth: If it’s true that during the virus I tried to comfort one person. Your mom, your kids, or your dog. My dog was getting nervous. He didn’t know what was going on, but he was uncomfortable, you could see he was nervous. He felt something going on with the humans, and then i would pet him and give him some snacks and try to make him feel better. So in my case it’s true that during the virus I have done at least one small thing to calm somebody else down. It happened to be my dog okay? Because I only had two people in my house. Me, Veronica, and the dogs. Veronica doesn’t get scared, the dog was nervous, so I was just trying to help the dog.
So it is true that I did this one good thing, so i have the raw material for an act of truth. We’ve been calling it the “bullet in the gun”. I have some raw materials, so your job during this meditation is going to be to do an act of truth; we are going to shoot a bullet into the fear that everybody has. We’re going to try to send it to the middle of the sun. 25 million degrees. Burned up in the middle of the sun okay?
We’re going to try to do that. And to do that you’re going to have to remember something you did during the time of the virus, to help someone else who was nervous or scared. Okay? And then you’re going to do an act of truth: “If it’s true that I helped one other person who was nervous or scared during this virus, then may the virus be killed by my act of truth.” “May I send the virus to the middle of the sun and destroy it.” And I think it’d be really cool, I mean I don’t know if we will have the strength or the wisdom to do it, but it would be cool if our meditations could stop the virus. That would be really amazing. I don’t know if we’re good enough to do it, but it’s certainly worth a try right? It’s certainly something cool to try, so let’s try.
And as we go through, after we identify that good thing you did, we’re going to send it to help different people. And there’s a list of 19 different things that hurt people. We already took care of the hell beings. We covered the animals, we covered the pretas—the hungry ghosts. And now in this meditation we’re going to help out the human beings okay? We’re going to do something for human beings, and I think if you listen to the recording that we did of the dedication chapter, this is one of the most beautiful pieces of spiritual poetry ever. How Master Shantideva imagines walking across the planet, and helping all kinds of different people with different problems.
So let’s get started. Please sit up straight. Okay, drink something.
I like left hand down, right hand down on top. I kind of let my thumbs… I don’t try to do this like the Buddha does because I get distracted trying to keep them up. So I just let them fall down.
Sit up super straight. And let’s come to our breath. We’re just going to do 15 minutes, it’s not a long meditation. Make it a really good 15 minutes.
Let’s watch our breath. 10 long exhales. You can link it to your heartbeat, it’s it’s kind of more fun.
Now try to identify sometime during the last few months—during the time of the virus—when you broke out of your shell of self-concern. You noticed that someone else was afraid, and you tried to make them feel better. You tried to make them feel safer. Here we go, and then keep that in mind, we’re going to use it for an act of truth.
Now let’s use that act of truth like a bullet. And we transform—we imagine that we are Manjushri. We are like this incredibly beautiful divine Buddha, and we are walking through this virus world and we are touching people.
First we meet people who are blind, probably in your life you’ve known a few blind people. And like in the stories of Jesus, we touch their eyes and then suddenly they’re able to see. Imagine that.
“If it’s true that i helped a person who was afraid during the last few months, then may all the blind people in this world see see things.” “Right now, in this moment.” “May the Ganges river flow backwards.” “May blind people see.”
“May deaf people hear.” “I do an act of truth, if it’s true I was kind to someone who was afraid… if I made them feel better… may all the deaf people in this world hear suddenly.” “Hear all the beautiful sounds of this world. The birds, music, loving words of other people.”
“If it’s true that I helped a person in the virus times, by that good karma may Manjushri appear to every woman right now who is in labor, who is about to have a baby, suffering that extraordinary pain, and ready to make that final sacrifice to give life to another being.” “If it’s true I tried to help someone, then may every one of those women have a very easy easy childbirth—painless like the Buddha’s mother did.”
There are people in the world who are so poor they don’t even have a shirt, or they don’t have clothes. And I have seen in my life, in my travels, I’ve seen these people. “And may they suddenly—through my act of truth—may they have beautiful soft sturdy clothing to protect them.”
“If it’s true that I helped someone in the [time of the] virus, then may all the people in this world who are hungry, at this moment they cannot get food, there’s no way they can get food, then may they be filled.” “May food suddenly come to them and make they be filled.” When I first went to India I saw a man on his hands and knees eating grass like a animal. And so there are people like that, there is hunger like that, especially now.
There are many many people in the world who have lost all their money. I spoke to some of the monks at the monastery this morning, and in India it’s happening. There are people with no money at all. They had a little bit. I have met farm workers in the fields around the monastery who who have one piece of bread and that’s all they own. And those people are in need of money, may they suddenly have money.
We all know people who have lost people they love and they are grieving. Sometimes grief takes years, sometimes grief can take 10 or 20 years. So may those people, by my act of truth, may they suddenly finish with their grieving. May they find comfort.
There are people who have lost hope. They see no hope for the future. They don’t even want to get out of bed, they don’t talk much, they don’t do much, they sit at home and they feel despair. “May I, by my act of truth, may those people feel hope.”
Next in this chapter Master Shantideva talks about people who are sick, and of course there are tens of thousands… hundreds of thousands of people are sick right now. “And by my act of truth, may their sickness finish; may they start to feel very comfortable and very healthy.”
Next is fear. There are people, of course there are millions of people right now in fear. “And may my act of truth remove that fear.” The virus is difficult, the virus is deadly, but the fear on top of the virus it’s almost worse than the virus.
Next Master Shantideva says, “let’s do an act of truth for all those people who have no power in society”. They are un-empowered. Other people boss them around, other people tell them what to do. Most often because of race, or religion, or beliefs. They are un-empowered in our society. And by this act of truth, may people who for those reasons have have no authority or no power in this society, may they suddenly come to full power.
Even in the time of the virus there are countless people on the road, flying… still some airplanes are going. More and more people are driving; people are trying to get home. People in India are walking home, for a thousand miles to get home during the virus. May each person who is on the way home—-may my act of truth—-may my good karma help them on their way. May they have a smooth trip, and an easy trip.
Then there are countless people who they are not traveling because they have nowhere to go. They don’t have a home, they don’t have relatives, they don’t have a family. There’s nowhere they can go for help. And I do my act of truth for them.
I do my act of truth for children, small children. They are especially vulnerable. People take advantage of them, people hurt them, people ignore them, people don’t take care of them. And by this act of truth may all young children in this world be protected, and happy, and have a beautiful childhood.
The elderly are very similar to the children. They used to be strong, they used to be like you and me, and their only sin is that they got old and they don’t have the energy to work, to make money anymore. They don’t have the energy to do the little day-to-day things they used to do in their home; they can’t cook anymore, they can’t make the bed anymore, they can’t walk to the toilet anymore. Like small children, they are very vulnerable. And may my act of truth make them strong and protected.
Three more and then we’re done with the meditation.
And it’s so beautiful that Shantideva identifies the really major problems of this world. He says there are millions of people who had trouble sleeping last night, maybe you have this problem. I know I have it sometimes. And we just can’t sleep, we wake up in the middle of the night, we stare at in the darkness and we worry. So through this act of truth, may all people who have trouble sleeping, may they sleep well tonight.
People who are mentally troubled. They’re mentally broken. There’s a lot of, for example in America, a lot of veterans of fighting—ex-soldiers—who have this problem, and their minds are troubled; they’re not quite normal. I do an act of truth for you.
And then finally says Shantideva, there are people who are just completely crazy. They are locked up in a hospital, they are given heavy drugs, they are wasting away, locked up in a room. I had a friend whose relative got Covid and died from it. And the irony is she was already locked up, in a mental asylum for over 30 years, and then inside there she dies from this virus. So I also pray for these people. I send my act of truth to them as if I were Manjushri.
Let’s come back to our breath. Three deep breaths, three deep exhales.
And slowly open your eyes. Take a stretch. I like to take a stretch.
We’re going to do five meditations total, and that’s the second one. And please do it this week, try to do it once or twice
a day. It’s very short and it’s very beautiful.
See you for the next one.