Essays

Prejudice and Pride

A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner asks her teacher how to take pride in one’s practice without becoming arrogant.

Published December 2019 by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

Recently, I was practicing with a Buddhist friend, whom I’ll call Brian, and the concept of pride came up. Brian’s an older man who suffers from a physical handicap, though he’s able to live independently. Brian seems deeply engaged in the practice, but often disparages his own progress. I suggested that he should be proud of his efforts, and he responded: “But pride is not something we’re told to cultivate. It’s seen as a negative habit.” I explained that I was talking about divine pride, to regard oneself as a Buddha, rather than delusional pride, meaning a harmful arrogance based on wealth or status. 

 

 

As a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, I am constantly reminded that we never know when death might approach, but for years, I’d avoided dealing with one of the most practical aspects of death—the paperwork. I was not alone: Roughly half of all adults in North America do not have a living will. Then recently, I suffered a near-fatal illness that left me viscerally aware of how unprepared for death I was, and I made a pledge with two of my friends to get ready to leave our bodies behind for both ourselves and the people who survive us.

 

Emptiness and Filling Out Forms: A Practical Approach to Death

Dying with compassion means having a plan in place for those left behind. A practitioner recounts how she navigated the process with her dharma friends.

Published July 2019 by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

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