Tragedy is something we will all experience in our lives on larger or smaller scales. Tragedy is nothing more than change, radical change that is hard for us as humans to swallow all at once. I believe our practice teaches us that we should allow tragedy to change us, avoiding denial and a closed heart. We simply accept this change, whether we label it as tragedy or not, in its basic form what we call tragedy is just change that is very hard to accept and avoid the suffering that usually comes with it.

We have a Sangha; we are shaped and changed by each other. Even our teacher is changed by us because we are here. We should be witnesses to tragedy whether it is in the world or in our personal life. Witness the tragedy and let yourself accept and be changed by it. Respond to it with wisdom and compassion. Find some way to do what may seem like a small thing to react and acknowledge the change that has occurred. By allowing ourselves to change with tragedy and reacting with wisdom and compassion then we are truly living in the present.

Do not stick your head in the sand over tragedy. Do not let it bring you down or live in denial only to have to face some horror later in your life when that horror is in the past.

Do not blame yourself for tragedy, but take some responsibility for our world. Forgive if you need to, have compassion for your neighbor if you need to.

I witnessed a tragedy this week that was unlike any specific set of facts that I have ever had to deal with or be responsible for. Some of my initial inner thoughts were not wise or compassionate, but this changed and I am glad that I have my practice.

From our Treeleaf Chant Book:

All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old,
On account of beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,
Born of my body, mouth and mind,
Now I atone for them all.

(Reposted from my blog)