The Heart of Kuan Yin

In the midst of unbelievable chaos, the ocean of samsara churning, worldwide suffering, internal doubt and turmoil, war, and grief, where do we turn? To whom do we dedicate the energy generated by suffering so that it can be transmuted into wisdom?

In the midst of celebration, closeness with beloveds, happy achievements, spontaneous declarations of love, contentment, friendship, and good news, where do we turn? To whom do we dedicate the energy of our joy so that it can be transmuted into wisdom?

"She Who Hears the Cries of the World" receives our exclamations and dedications of both suffering and joy. In her vast heart of wisdom is a lotus flower that is nourished by the mud of our sorrow as it turns its face to the sun of our happiness. She does not differentiate between "good" and "evil", and instead shows us that in reality, all is one. There is no duality. There are only manifestations of phenomenon that serve to enlighten us with increased awareness. In order to receive this awareness, we cannot choose to see ourselves as separate from one another. We must choose to see ourselves as cells in the same body, each doing its part to sustain the whole.

But what happens in the body when a group of cells becomes diseased? The body then creates new cells with the express purpose of restoring wholeness. On the surface, the assertive action of these cells might seem violent or revolutionary. White blood cells "devour" disease, rendering it harmless, consuming the fire of disease so that it cannot cause damage. Would we characterize the activity of the white blood cells as violent, illegal, or thuggish, when, in fact, the restoration of health is the ultimate act of compassion for the ailing?

To the same token, occasionally white blood cells go rogue and begin taking over the body. They can form clusters that become tumors. They can overrun the blood. Then, the body requires regulatory measures to cease the enthusiasm of the white blood cells. Treatments for this condition can involve potent chemicals, the administration of radiation, and surgery. Would we characterize these methods of treatment as willfully aggressive, overbearing, or cruel to Mother Nature, when, in fact, the restoration of health is the ultimate act of compassion for the ailing?

The Heart of Kuan Yin beats in each of us, reminding us to come home to the center of stillness where compassion may be found. It is not wrong to heal the diseases of suffering that threaten to harm our world. It is neither wrong to rein in our impulses to go overboard in doing so, especially when our actions replicate the tactics of the diseases we are seeking to heal.

In times of suffering, and times of joy, as well a times of confusion, we can dedicate the energy of our undifferentiated, painful, gorgeous, terrible, beautiful experiences to the Heart of Kuan Yin, and thereby return to true compassion, which is both fierce and tender at once.

May the merit of this practice,
and all of my activities,
be of endless benefit
to all beings in all realms,
beginningless and continuous.
May all obstacles be overcome,
and suffering cease,
at the sound of liberation. 
May all beings be freed from suffering and its causes.
May all beings have happiness and its causes.
May we carry the essence of Kuan Yin in our hearts.