Rick Mercer, probably most famous for his “talks with Americans,” puts out some scathing rants on life, love and politicians. I caught this one on Tuesday night and thought it was a good way to commemorate November 11 at 11:00AM. Mahasatipatthana is one of the key sutras in Buddhist scriptures – the Four Foundations of Mindfulness – that teaches us the path of Right Mindfulness. It is more than simply “coming into the moment,” a phrase to which I’ve become averse. It is so much more that “this” moment; it is all moments. Sati means to re-member, to re-collect all our dispersions in body, speech, and mind. On this day, at this time, it is about bringing together in all that we need to hold as sacred so that we may live maha-sati or sama-sati deeply and truly.
On our altar we have a placard with the number 156 written on it. It is in a long line of numbers starting with 138 and is the number of soldiers and support workers who have died in the violence in Afghanistan. Whether we agree with the politics of war or not, whether those who fought or fight believe in living by the sword, it is nevertheless a compassionate act to remember all those who died from that particular form of violence – and all forms of violence. I don’t have a Buddhisty label for it. I just know that to light a candle, to observe silence for all passings is important. By their death, we are reminded to live.
Thank you for practising,