In this extraordinary series, Geshe Tashi gives us regular updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic amongst the Tibetan diaspora in India through the lens of Sera Monastery, home to around 6,000 monks. In response to emails asking after his welfare and requesting advice on Coronavirus and Buddhist practice, he generously shares his observations, thoughts and advice in his usual warm-hearted and accessible style.
As part of this Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic series, Geshe Tashi continues with what has become a leading theme for him during the Coronavirus pandemic – how we can help others through small, manageable acts of kindness or generosity. Citing Captain Tom Moore in the UK raising many millions by walking 100 lengths of the grounds where he lives, Geshe Tashi makes the point that small, simple actions, done with the right heart and intentions, can become big events when they meet with the right causes and conditions. The vital ingredients here are the ones we have some degree of control over – our intentions and actions.
Using the analogy of our actions being like a drop of water in an ocean, Geshe Tashi brings the Mahayana teachings on the vast potential hidden within one small act startlingly alive and relevant. In just a few short sentences, Geshe la offers us evidence of the tremendous power and reach that can potentially be gained from following the Mahayana path.
He quotes Ann Radcliffe, a pioneer of Gothic fiction, saying “one act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world.”
We can keep things manageable and simple. We can keep up our practice of setting our intentions to help all living beings, we can take action to help others through small acts of kindness, and we can dedicate these acts to fulfilling the vast scope of our intentions. In this way, he says, we all have the potential to be legends.
Geshe la’s next update will be on Monday. Until then, cheer up!
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.