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Mother Teresa, Bodhisattva

Mother Teresa was one badass bodhisattva. You might disagree with me, I know, seeing as how she was Catholic and all, and believed in Jesus and God and all that stuff. But she spent her entire life on a path of spiritual awakening in order to benefit senient beings.

I think about Avalokitesvara a lot. I've heard that name translated as “the one who hears the cries of the world.” That was her, man! People covered in maggots, impossibly thin babies, the sickest of the sick, and she and her peeps were there. Check this out: “The Missionaries of Charity were not to wear gloves to touch the maggot-ridden bodies of the dying, any more than they were to hold the lepers at arm's length, because they were tending the body of Christ.” Jesus H. Christ! Cries of the world! I think of myself on the subway casting my eyes downward as some vaguely threatening person asks for money. Some bodhisattva I am.

According to this (clearly biased) book I'm reading, Mother Teresa prayed to her God in ways that sound an awful like meditation. She (and all her crew) had a smile for everyone who crossed their paths. It was her rule––you were supposed to be praying all the time but still remember to smile at everyone who crossed your path. Whether you wanted to or not. She cared for the sick and the dying, even those who were beyond hope, sometimes simply being there to show them someone cared as they died. Honestly if you'd told me some of her quotes were actually Thich Nhat Hanh quotes I might just believe you. Except for the whole “Vicar of Christ” thing and the like. How about these: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” “Peace begins with a smile.” "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." He might have even said this one: “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.” We're used to being told to see everyone as a Buddha. Funny how the word “Jesus” makes me want to argue about it.

Anyway, if half of what's in the book is true then she was truly a bodhisattva. I can't say I agree with everything she did––after all, she was vehemently anti-abortion, being a Catholic nun and all, and she was also anti-contraception. Clearly contraception might have been useful in some of the communities where she worked. And she spoke in the language of the Catholic Church. Which sure as shit would've turned me off. Though it is clear that she tended to Christians, Hindus, and Muslims equally. And there are those who felt her entire mission was to make more Catholics. I don't think that's true. But at the end of the day, I can't begin to fathom the extraordinary benefit she was to so many desperately poor sentient beings. Certainly more benefit than I've been. Probably more than Christopher Hitchens, too.

I bring this all up because I'm inspired by who she was and how she gave of herself for the benefit of others. One might argue that her giving was misguided, that there might have been better ways for her to benefit others. Had she worked for the empowerment of women, for example, or had she helped spread contraception. But she came from where she came from i.e. a deeply Catholic viewpoint, what she did remains extraordinary, and I'm inspired to be reminded that there are and have been living bodhisattvas in my lifetime, those who pursue a path of awakening and give of themselves completely for the benefit of others. It's easy to think they all died out a thousand years ago in Tibet. But they're everywhere.

I'm not going to suddenly become Mother Teresa (I look terrible in a sari, anyway) but I can look to her and other bodhisattvas as inspirations, and try to incorporate their ways of being into my life.

I'll start with the whole smiling thing.

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Mother Terea the true servants of Humanity – Navin Chawla

Mother Teresa's original name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She taught Geography for many years in India. She spent her life caring for the poor. She was an Albanian Catholic nun who came to India and founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. Navin Chawla, who is official biographer of Mother Teresa. His great works and contribution towards association with Mother Teresa made him a sore in the eyes of many people.

Mother Teresa

In the begining of Catholism, mediation was part of the nuns and priest's daily devotion. Those who follow the faith also practiced the art of meditaiton. As the church grew more powerful it grew away from the vary roots of the the religion. Didn't Jesus mediate on many issues. Did not encourage his follower to think and ponder on many issues that were raised.

The disappearance of mediation became away for political forces to control the masses. Heretic's were found all the time as their opinion varied of that of the church.

Interesting that a woman like Mother Teresa was so similar to the yogi's and guru's of India. I wonder if the region she was working in allowed for her spiritual growth? An area that is known as a very spiritual continent. Could she have found the same spirial growth and inner peace in say the street of Morocco, Egypt or Europe????

Food for thought anyway.......Have fun pondering over these thoughts......

On It!

Dude, you hit it out of the park on this one. I'm not Catholic but I think I want to be (you know what I mean) Mother Teresa when I grow up. I think I'll start now.



Thanks Ron!



funny thing too-
in yoga and meditation: a slight curling up of the corners of the mouth releases all the muscles in the face-especially the forehead...
thanks for posting.

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