3 Picture Books for Suffering Times

Last night was terrible.

Today I am exhausted.

It wasn’t that anything changed. Everything outside my window looks exactly the same. I had to remind myself that this is the same suffering that happens everyday. Last night it was just a spectacle. Today it is just tiring.

It is times like these I am glad to be Buddhist because it is the only way to make sense of the violence that escalated into a white supremacist terrorist mob riot overtaking the Capitol building. I need this kind of suffering to be normal. It is actually easier to process this level of suffering if I remind myself that something like what we witnessed is always happening. Maybe not outside our window. Maybe not in a national capital. But somewhere. The unusual days are when I forget. I need this kind of suffering to have a cause. I need to touch into the anger and fear and despair and deep confusion and sorrow that continually feeds cycles of violence. I need to know there is something I can do to end this suffering, both inside myself and in the world, and I need to know how to do it.

So last night and today I took my seat. I cleared my mind and asked for right view. Now is a time to see, to really see things for how they are. Not as we want them to be and not as they are for just those in our circle. Now is a time to bring whatever hovers on the periphery to the center. To focus on that which most needs our care.

I admire the Buddha because even though his life was comfortable, he recognized that things were not okay. And he left it all behind. He let it all fall apart because it was broken anyways.

He envisioned something new.

What Do You Do With a Chance? — New York Times best seller: Kobi Yamada,  Mae Besom: 9781943200733: Amazon.com: Books

One day, we can be asleep, forgetting about the suffering that needs to be worked on. Or we can be working on it and feel weary and alone. The next day we can be awake and aware. We can find ourselves surrounded by others who are just as activated as we are.

On that day we should begin. Everyday is an invitation to begin again.

The Day You Begin: Woodson, Jacqueline, López, Rafael: 9780399246531:  Amazon.com: Books

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