Archive for April 6th, 2012

HE Sogyal Rinpoche arrives to speak about Budd...

HE Sogyal Rinpoche arrives to speak about Buddhism, Seattle, Washington, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a look:

Sogyal Rinpoche may 2012 

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Raising Children in Complex Times with Sylvia ...

Raising Children in Complex Times with Sylvia Boorstein (Photo credit: On Being)

Here is a great clip from Sylvia Boorstein about being Jewish and practicing Buddhist meditation.

And here she is with Sharon Salzberg talking about compassion.

 I find it really interesting that Sylvia points out that people asked her how could she practice both paths as if there aren’t many ways to the Divine path of compassionate living.

I grew up Roman Catholic.  My dad had been a Lutheran and my grandfather still was.  I volunteered at the Jewish Home for the Elderly.  Mom’s co-worker sent home Matzo every Spring for Mike and I.  My best friend growing up had been Buddhist before coming to this country.  And I had (have) nuns in my family.

And I say, if it takes a village to help grow a child, it takes all faiths to help us grow into compassionate caring people.

This week, I think of those elderly patients at the Jewish Home who thought I was a good Jewish girl for serving them Tam Tams and herring on Thursday afternoons.

I wish everyone in the world was able to be surrounded by people of great differences so that they could come to see just how alike we really are.

I honor those friends I have that continue to inform my spirit path and teach me that there are other ways to see the world, to celebrate life, and to be filled with gratitude for the love I am surrounded by and the wisdom that has been passed down to all of us through our own faith paths.

I honor all those who have been wronged simply because of who they are and what they believe.  And I honor the coming together and breaking bread to celebrate our freedom from whatever slavery we have had to bare.

Peace and good tidings to all on earth.

Metta, Jennifer

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“Death is a crisis which should be shared by all members of the family.  Children are too often forgotten by grieving adults.  Silence and secrecy deprive them of an important opportunity to share grief.”

~~Rabbi Earl A. Grollman

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Pat Enkyo O'Hara of Village Zendo in New York ...

Pat Enkyo O'Hara of Village Zendo in New York City (cropped version of the original) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We all want to idealize our teachers, and we want to idealize enlightenment, and ourselves. What happens is we set things up so that there is enlightenment, and there’s this teacher who’s going to give it to us, and that teacher has to be perfect and we have to be perfect. And of course, it makes it impossible for us to practice, and to have compassion for ourselves and for others. The fact is, we’re all human. And enlightenment does not bestow perfection. There’s no such thing as perfection.”

~~Sensei Enkyo O’Hara, “Practice First” 

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The question

I always find it interesting when people ask about my parents. I’m still young enough that most of my friends haven’t experienced the death of a close relative, especially not a parent and there is still a moment of hesitation when I tell older people that my father has died.

Over the years I have become artful in my response to the “parent question” as many of my friends who have also lost a parent have come to call it. I tailor my answer to the situation I am in and the person I am talking to.

Usually, when someone asks about my parents I reply simply with “my mom lives in Illinois.” However, there are individuals who insist on inquiring, I can see the wheels start to turn in their heads before they respond with an “and your father?” By now I am prepared for it, If I feel up to it I say “he passed away.” Sometimes I’m not feeling up to it though, after 15 years there are still days when I don’t want to talk about my dad’s death, so then I respond with “my mom lives on her own.”

Yes, there are still people who ask more, the people who insist on asking where my father is. I will admit that sometimes my snide, sarcastic wit comes up with “he’s dead, thanks for asking.” or “why do you need to know.” But for the most part, after fifteen years, I answer honestly and shortly. When people insist on knowing more, like how he died or when he died, I politely tell them I don’t want to talk about it, if that is how I feel.

My point in sharing this with you is that children who are grieving will get “the question.” It is best to prepare them in advance. Ask them how much they are comfortable sharing, role playing scenarios where “the question” might come up would also be helpful. Simply a discussion about what the child feels when these questions come up could also be helpful.

When I was young I did not have any friends who had lost a parent, I felt all alone. I have since found some friends who have experienced the death of a parent and feel less alone. It is important to offer grief groups and camps as a way for your child to make friends who have experienced a death if the child wants to experience this.

The National Alliance for Grieving Children has a database of children’s grief programs here:


Or, like I did when I found the program Jen was working in, you can simply google “children’s grief program” and your area to find support.

-Liz Hendrickson

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