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Today's Daily Dharma was a quote from Norman Fischer's "Into Emptiness," a moving personal essay about the death of his mother.
Gradually, over the course of days and nights, she began to give up everything. First her body became more relaxed, as though it wasn’t hers anymore. Then she stopped having any sense of whether she liked or didn’t like anything. Then she couldn’t tell who anyone was or recognize anything in the room. All of the worries and cares of her life began to mingle in her delirium: her clothes, things she had to do at home or for my father, things at the office where she had worked. One by one she put them down, too. Finally there was only a dim awareness that grew finer and finer as her breath seemed to go more and more deep—more and more inward....
Over the course of today, it has been comforting to read the many heartfelt responses to Fischer's article from Tricycle Community Members. For example:
This touched my heart as I read I remember going through the same thing with my Mother and then my Father. And as the days go by a very close friend and a next door neighbor are headed down the same path. Here I go again. The story is the same.
This is quite a synchronicity. My mother died one year ago today. I just read Pema's article on renunciation, Ravens in the Wind. About meeting your edge, and being paralyzed there. Life with my mother was a constant journey of meeting the edge. It seems the same is true in the aftermath of remembering. There's the recurring feeling of never having gotten it right. Today is yet another opportunity to renounce that persistent doubt, and try to breathe past the paralysis, not necessarily into some action, but into quiet.
Thank you, Norman, for all us motherless children.
Perhaps making 'sense' of the Heart Sutra is like making 'sense' of death.
Clear, unadorned writing, grabs me in a place that by-passes the figuring and interpreting that more ornate writing requires. Thank you for the years of plying your craft to attain such a skill.
As a publication and community that often explores topics related to the nitty gritty truths of living and dying we have, at times, found ourselves worrying that some of the nastiness that's out there on the Internet will spill onto beautiful, real articles such as this one. It's life-affirming to see that there's a place on the Internet for respectful conversation, where we can still speak in hushed tones about what matters most. Thank you, Norman, and thank you, readers of this article.
Read the rest of "Into Emptiness" here.