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Do You Yearn To Ease Suffering Of Others?

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The Bodhisattva Path

Those who commit to being a bodhisattva choose to forgo nirvana in order to stay in this world and be a healer (in the broadest definition of the word – we all have the potential to be healers).

3 Ways To Ease Suffering In Others

The bodhisattva training teaches three precepts:

  • Presence: Presence is all about restraining yourself from being distracted from what is right in this moment. It’s about refraining from leaning into gain or leaning away from loss. It’s about being with what is without making it right or wrong or telling yourself stories about it. It’s about personal liberation, which you must achieve in order to truly alleviate the suffering of others.
  • Cultivating wholesome qualities and refraining from evil ones. Wholesome qualities worth practicing are things like love, generosity, gentleness, and gratitude. Evil ones are things like killing, stealing, greed, cheating on your spouse, and getting loaded. It’s hard to ease the suffering of others when you’re engaging in practices that cause suffering to yourself and others, but when you practice ethical behavior, you can more effectively serve others and ease their suffering.
  • Service to all beings. This is all about making a commitment to ease the suffering of others, knowing that we are all one big squash plant. This means avoiding the tendency to “like” some people and “dislike” others.  It’s remembering that we are all connected to Source and we are all manifestations of divine love, here on this earth to let our Inner Pilot Lights radiate.

The Three Bodies Of The Buddha

Training in these three precepts requires cultivating what Buddhists call the “trikaya” or the three bodies of the Buddha – the truth body, the bliss body, and the physical body.

The Truth Body

The truth body is the part of you that knows that we are all one, that separateness is an illusion, and that love and unity of our souls is the only true way to relieve suffering.

The Bliss Body

The bliss body is the part of you that grins like a maniac when you are practicing presence, cultivating wholesome qualities and refraining from evil ones, and living your life in service to all beings – because it’s really that f*cking awesome to live like this!

The Physical Body

The physical body is the limiting part of you, the body that can get sick and die, but which allows you the blessing of being in this world to live out your bodhisattva vows, know and teach the truth, and experience bliss.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities - HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

60 comments

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7:58PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Good article thankyou, nicely written.

8:43PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Ruth, people have physical needs that must be met if they are to be healthy enough to be of any good to others.Unless such a person is supported by an outside agency, they must charge something, or they literally, have nothing to give. The picture you present of a spiritual helper is only YOUR opinion, not a truth, and it plain that you don't like Ms Rankin.Of course you can't live the ideal you propose. Nobody can.So since Lissa isn't living YOUR ideal, SHE'S a hypocrite ?
Thankfully, most people now days are beyond such an anitiquated notion of spiritualism, and untill we have personal stipends to live on so that those who are called to such healing service can indeed focus the majority of their time on others, all healers will have to charge for their services, just like everybody else.This should be obvious.

10:09AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

There could be a problem of doing it to make yourself happy... or doing it because you are supposed to... or doing it with a me...

9:44AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

As long as your attempts to take on the yearning to help others emotionally is healthy in that you are not drug down emotionally by whatever the issue at hand be. Being there for that person in a supporting and understanding role, yet at the same time, allowing that person to feel that they have arrived at the right decision that is best suitable for them. Your job is to listen, offer a number of possibilities and then allow that individual to seek the course best suited for them, by them.

9:20AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Typo on the ()*

9:19AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Amen, Mary B. I like Wayne Dyer too and he charges too. (They don't get hourly wages so you gotta make your money in one shot like any freelancer.

6:04PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

cool stuff!

5:39PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Thanks for the article, although I don't see the need to curse.... so, Lissa, perhaps you missed something about that presentation.
I enjoyed the story about the squashes and found it a valid comparison of how we humans live. We all breathe the same air - over and over again all around our planet. I'm about 90% there on the Bodhisattva path, but find it difficult to deal with certain situations. eg Last night at a theatre I sat down looking forward to enjoying a play. Suddenly, I man sat alongside me who reeked of cigarette smoke - it virtually oozed out of all his pores. He hadn't bothered to shower or dress in clean clothes - so I moved away very quickly. People near me four rows behind him could also smell the unpleasant cigarette smoke odour. Seems like I'll be happily stuck on 90%.....

1:27PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

I think people who go around saying "I'm a bodhisattva" generally aren't.

Mary B, if you're a wonderful spiritual person who lives to serve others, you don't go on welfare. And you don't charge $500 for anything. You live in poverty - because you care about other people so much that you can't bear to own things when other people are hungry or need medicine. You don't want to be distracted from your mission. You're ignoring your very real physical needs to comfort others in their suffering.

But very few people actually live like that. I know I couldn't. Thing is, I'm not going around telling everyone what a saint I am, and selling some bizarre spiritual pyramid scheme. Lissa Rankin is a hypocrite, in addition to everything else.

10:13PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

Great article, thank you!

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