Updated: Oct 9, 2022
I’ve been watching the news of the war in Ukraine and the shutting off of the Russian people from reality in the world. I have a heavy heart. How is it that we are in the year 2022 and yet, here we are? How is it that just three weeks ago, the people of Ukraine and Russia and Eastern Europe were going about their busy days - children playing, dinners bubbling away on stoves, shops filled with goods, people working and living their normal lives? In an instant - all gone.
Our feelings of sadness, anger, and helplessness are the ripples of war and aggression that affect us all. Now, what do we do with that?
How do we take feelings of helplessness, despair, anger and transform them into wisdom?
The very first thing we can do is seek to change the seeds of anger, aggression and ignorance within ourselves. We must be peace to see peace.
We can donate to reputable organizations that are helping to get much-needed food and medical aid to people in need. There are many and every bit helps. This is practising with the teachings of Generosity and Right Action.
And we can pray.
At the end of service and sitting periods, we say the verse of Transferring Merit, Fueko. This is an external acknowledgement of what has already happened. That is, the sending of the good energy we have generated through practice out into the world. I totally believe the ripples of this move in the world. Are we going to stop a war? Probably not. But if I were a mother in Ukraine or Russia right now, I’d sure like to know that mom across the world was praying for me. This is what I can do today.
In the Zen tradition, we chant The Heart Sutra. This is the most widely chanted sutra in the world and speaks to us of emptiness and interconnectedness. Roshi Joan Halifax and Kazukai Tanashi translated this sutra into modern language:
In preparation for a seated meditation period, I prepared a guided Metta. Please find a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Try to keep your eyes open and focused on a point just ahead of you and down about 45 degrees. But if this is not comfortable for you today, feel free to close them. Let’s begin to breathe deeply in and out from our bellies. In….and out. In…and out…In…and out
Sending Metta (Loving-Kindness)
In Times Of War and Aggression
Recognizing that I am not separate from those experiencing the horrors and turmoil of war:
May I not become a victim to my emotions of sadness, despair, and anger. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace.
Breathing in and Breathing out, may I transform my negative reactions into compassion for all beings. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace.
May I embody peace in my everyday life. In my actions and my speech. In the way, I treat others and the way I treat myself. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out I breathe out peace.
May we bring to mind all who suffer the effects of war, poverty, and oppression. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace.
May all those who seek safety and shelter, find safe havens amid their struggle. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace.
May all those who are hungry and cold, find food and warmth. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out I breathe out peace.
May all those who are sick or injured find medicine, and healing. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace
May all those who are separated by war be reunited. Breathing in I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace.
May all the grieving and anguished hearts find peace. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace.
May those in power come to see that peace is the answer. Breathing in, I breathe in calm. Breathing out, I breathe out peace
Let us begin our sitting meditation period of 25 minutes.
Ring Bell Three Times - bow to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
At the end of the 25 minutes Ring Bell Twice
Ending the session with a chanting The Heart Sutra in the tradition of our lineage, and offering Fueko.