Reb Anderson

‘The paramitas invite us to train in innumerable ways in order to become thoroughly and completely ourselves. This may seem ironic because we usually think we are already ourselves when we begin this path of the heroic bodhisattvas. But we don’t understand what it means to be fully ourselves, and therefore, we do need training. When we are fully ourselves, we see that our lives are fragile, and that we can be tender with our fragile lives. When we are tender, our lives do not become less fragile. Rather, through our deep acceptance that life is fragile, the door to an appropriate response opens. This is the door to the activity of wisdom.’ (Entering The Mind Of Buddha)

After my recent talk at City Center, in which I made reference to Reb’s new book on the paramitas, Barbara gave me a copy of it, which was an unexpected pleasure. I haven’t got very far into it yet, and I do notice some internal disquiet at the use of ‘heroic’ to describe the bodhisattvas: I feel that most people are self-deprecating enough that the word distances them from what they believe is possible – ‘oh, I’m not a hero, I’m just an ordinary person.’ Trust in the practice means trusting you are capable of such actions and training, but I would choose a different word myself.

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