compassionDid you spend part of your Sunday thinking about the shootings in Orlando?

I’ll bet folks who attend church services heard about grief and pain.

Our Buddhist friends here in Portland addressed the murders head-on.

What would be a thoughtful response?

Blame? Sorrow? Affirming it’s them, not us?  

The issue lands right in our laps.

We are responsible.

Responsible in the sense that we can’t control anyone else’s actions, but we can manage our own behaviors.

That means we can be kind when we’re tempted to be cruel.

The Orlando killer learned how to hate.

At some point in his life, someone caused him harm.

Our job is to be compassionate rather than harmful.

It’s difficult.

When I’ve felt wronged my mind turns to revenge.

I plot intricate maneuvers to trap my critic in a pool of molasses and unleash a raft of Africanized bees.

But if I can reframe the story and consider that my critic bears scars wrought by others, then perhaps I can extract a drop of compassion from my miserable mind.

Yesterday we read the Chant of Boundless Compassion, which reminds me that my own grief can be cushioned by acting more compassionate.

Here’s the chant:

Chant of Boundless Compassion

Absorbing world sounds

Awakens a Buddha right here

This Buddha the source of compassion

This Buddha receives only compassion

Buddha, Dharma, Sangha – just compassion

Thus the pure heart always rejoices

In the light recall this

In the dark recall this

Moment after moment the true heart arises

Time after time there is nothing but THIS



Uncredited photo from


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, authenticity, Orlando and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Compassion

  1. Pingback: When Honor Meets Disrespect | Cynthia Coleman Emery's Blog

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