May I be a guard, a guide, a scripture

December 1, 2014

A couple of years ago I shared a thought with my wife, “How about if I retire from teaching chemistry and become a Buddhist chaplain?” My wife didn’t hesitate. She agreed that could be a very good thing for me and for her (mind you, she is neither a Buddhist nor inclined to be a chaplain’s wife). I was once again overwhelmed with gratitude for the chain of happenstances that tossed me into her arms 25 years ago. Oh Lucky Man.

I haven’t made any moves to end one career or begin another, but a couple of years have passed and I’m still keeping my eyes and ears open. The Winter 2014 Tricycle magazine contains an article (“Bedside Bodhisattva”, Pamela Gayle White) about being a newbie Buddhist chaplain. Ms. White’s example and words inspire. Maybe a change is in the air?

Here are the closing words from her article:

As bodhisattvas in training, what if we simply tried to follow Shantideva’s lead?

May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.
(The Way of the Bodhisattva 3.18)

A chaplain might add:

May I be a Jew for those who keep the covenant,
A Christian for those who follow in His footsteps,
A Muslim for those who love and heed the Prophet,
A Hindu, a shaman, a Buddhist, a Jain.

May I be scripture for those inspired by words:
A koan, a rhapsody, a proverb, a psalm.
For those who question, an unbiased ear;
For those who believe, a holder of the faith.

Amen.

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