Whatever beings there are, may they be free from suffering. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from enmity. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from hurtfulness. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from ill health. Whatever beings there are, may they be able to protect their own happiness. – Buddhist meditation.
The above must be the Buddhist version of the Prayers for the People, found in the Book of Common Prayer, and said in church in some fashion almost every Sunday. I find myself concentrating on two aspects of this meditation. The first is the phrase, “Whatever beings there are.” Since I know only enough about Buddhism to be dangerous, I suspicion that the meditation does not limit itself to humans, and as I think about it, who wants and enjoys watching any being, human or animal suffer, be abused, be in ill health, or unhappy. I also believe as I concentrate on the phrase, “Whatever beings there are,” that this meditation carries a message of inclusiveness. Black, White, or Brown; Gay or Straight; Man or Woman; and all combinations on earth are “beings” entitled to the same treatment and love of God and humankind, no exceptions – all are beings.
I also am drawn to the last phrase of the Buddhist meditation. We can’t control the suffering, the enmity, the infliction of hurtfulness, or at times the ill health, but we do have some control over our happiness, at least for a time. It’s called the human spirit, and when we are no longer able to control it, we know and can say we have done “all we can.”
“All we can” is part of each of our callings. I don’t think God necessarily asks of us to succeed, but nudges us to do only “all we can.”
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