January 10, 2011


There are two things which I keep over my desk at work, and have through the past 10 years. These are reminders of who I wish to be, and how I wish to interact with the world. Today seems a good day to share these.

The first I have marked as "Tibetan Nurse's Prayer". It is apparently a Buddhist prayer attributed to Shantideva in 8th century India.

May I be a protector to those without protection
a leader for those who journey
and a boat, a bridge, a passage
for those desiring the further shore.
May the pain of every living creature
be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor, the medicine
and may I be the nurse
for all the sick beings in the world
until everyone is healed.
Just like space
and the great elements such as earth,
may I always support the life
of all boundless creatures.
And until they pass away from pain
may I also be a source of life
for all the realms of varied beings
that reach unto the ends of space.

From the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Sogyal Rinpoche

The second I cannot attribute, I have had it for years.

There are of course numerous rabbinic discussions about determining the precise moment of dawn.

How do you know when night is over and a new day
has dawned?

One Talmud student said, "You know it is a new day when, at ten meters, you can tell the difference between a fig tree and an olive tree."
The other Talmud student disagreed and said," You know it is a new day when, at ten meters, you can tell the difference between a sheep and a goat."

So they went to ask their rabbi.

The rabbi answered them,

"When, at a distance of ten meters, you can see a man and know whether he is a Jewish Israeli or a Palestinian Israeli and still call him brother,

or see a woman and know whether her skin is black, white or brown and, in all cases call her sister,

then you know the night has ended and a new day has dawned.

May this be the fruit of all our prayers.