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Upon life’s journey

Upon life’s journey

Man walking out of a tunnel toward light.
Photo by Tim Daniels

Recently I was sentenced to two counts of life without parole. For years,
waiting for trial, I was very greedy. I was willing to put others through the hardship of
the horrendous ordeal of a murder trial. After the jury was selected, I thought to myself,
“I have been studying Dharma, but am I really applying it?” I had been so attached to
the life I once knew outside of incarceration. This was an opportunity to put the wants
and needs of others before my own selfish desire. So I took the plea in order to prevent so many sentient beings from having to endure horrific images and such a negative story.

I have humbled myself. I’m content with that. The Buddhadharma has helped
tremendously in my path through samsara. Below is a poem I wrote two hours before I
agreed to the plea.

Upon life’s journey did I travel.
Happen chanced a cataclysmic tragedy,
Fueled by greed
Overwhelmed through animosity
Rooted in ignorance.
For half a decade deception bloomed,
Until one day
Darkness erased
Truth prevailed.
The gravity of compassion did I enter.
The endeavor was sustained
The lie was ended.
Upon life’s journey did I travel
The experience of awakening.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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