Simple Advice For Facing Adversity

I’ve been emailing back and forth with a reader, in a far away country, who is in mental and emotional extremity, not without good reason. The directions I give this person are specific to that individual however I think there is something here for everybody.

From Correspondent: Could I ask about spiritual texts or prayers or something which could be probably helpful for me to find myself in that situation (and keep the faith) and develop (as I may say like that) my soul? Could you advise something or should I just sit in my meditation for the time being?

From Mugo: Here is a verse we have for circumstances such as the one you are in right now. (I recite it at take off and landing in an airplane.) This is not a prayer to a higher power separate from your own deepest indwelling heart, that which you touch (and are) when you are still within and which never leaves. Never.

The Invocation for the Removal of Disasters.
Adoration to all the Buddhas
Adoration to the limitless Scriptures
Peace! Speak! Blaze! Up!
To the glorious Peaceful One
For whom there are no disasters.
Hail! Hail! Hail!

It might be good to write out the verse and place it where you will see it and remember it. And have a copy to read in moments when you are able during the day. Reciting this is not magic. It will not make anything happen by reciting it. Basically reciting such verses help to keep faith when all around wants to drag it from you. You must maintain you faith in, and compassion for, ALL living beings and not allow yourself to be dragged down to the ground, so to speak.

Your eyes, literally your eyes, may be lifted up from time to time to look at what is high. Tops of trees, roofs, sky, ceiling – this will help you more than you might think. Deceptively simple, yet by simply looking up ones spirits remain up too. Remember particularly to keep your eyes looking ahead when you are walking from place to place, rather than the usual habit of looking at the ground.

That’s all I have for you so please now simply get on with your daily life. Just doing one thing after the other and keep returning to just doing the next thing. An instruction I have when giving a talk on working meditation is to bring your attention to your hands (mostly we are doing things with out hands). This will help you to keep your attention where you are and away from difficult mental and emotional states. Nothing wrong with such states however it is not so good to dwell there for a long time.

From Correspondent: Thank you for all your messages. they are warm and inspiring and recalling an important matter – “You must maintain your faith and compassion for all living beings”…and that everything (all forces, wisdom, compassion) is inside us. Thank you again.
With kind regards,

From Mugo: Glad what I’ve said is helpful. We sang the Invocation for the Removal of Disasters during a ceremony today. I have to say I kept you and your situation in mind as we sang.

Would you be OK with me publishing bits from our recent email conversation. I would like to publish as there is some reasonably useful teaching and it shows that life can get (very) difficult and that one can live through anything and still come through with a glad heart and not a sad one. I hope and pray that will be the case for you.

From Correspondent: HI! Thank you again for a ceremony and your care. As to your question – definitely I’m OK with publishing. Not only because our conversation is so useful and supportive to me, but also due to the fact that the extracts from your discussions with other people published in your blog are always so inspiring and useful for me that it would be my pleasure to give something to others (if I may express it in that way)
Best regards,

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11 thoughts on “Simple Advice For Facing Adversity”

  1. Deep Gassho to both of you for that post. I’m not in too great a ‘place’ myself right now, though reading between the lines nothing like as severe as the correspondant. I wish you well.

    I’m finding it hard to remember where I really am and to come back to it, so I’m printing out several copies of the verse to have in different places.

    In gassho again, Kevin

  2. This beautiful invocation has traveled many an icy, remote mountain road with me. Also a few not so remote or icy (but still intimidating) urban freeways. It is a true blessing for this often white-knuckled driver.

    1. Thanks Kathleen. I recite it most mornings before my altar which has a T of M list on it. The offertory (I made it up) goes:
      We offer the merit of this recitation of the Scripture for the removal of Disaster for all those who find themselves in extremity. May they be safe and secure and free from harm and may all ascend the brilliant altar and realize the truth. Three Homeages follow….

      Good one for remembering at the dentist and also on take off and landing on a plane trip.

  3. Thanks for this Rev Mugo. I recently had to have a catheter put in and this curtailed a lot – or most of – my activities. I have felt at the end of my tether sometimes and this medical intervention has had a knock on effect re. depression.
    After reading the Evocation to Prevent Disasters I came across: The Litany of Victory and The Litany for the Protection Against Disasters in a supplement to the Litany OBC book. They are longer than the verse you quote and are invoked by a preiest or lay minister but I will be reciting them on my own as I go into hospital on Thurs!

    1. So sorry to hear this news Eric. No fun, no fun at all to have a catheter put in. You are on my private T of M list now and will remember you on Thursday. Quite understand about the knock on effect. Can happen to the strongest of us believe me. Write to my email address if you would like to.

    1. I have a verstion of the Victorious (Buddha Crown). Don’t know where it came from however I’ll think about publishing it. Thanks for the reference by the way.

  4. Thank you Rev. Mugo. Whenever I leave my house and have some distance to cover, all day or more, I look around the home as I’m closing the door on the way out and say, ” I may not return.”
    That doesn’t produce foreboding but rather gratitude for the life I have been fortunate to have. Then, I have that scripture under my Sun visor to remind me of the need to go care fully. In gassho.

    1. And you know Helmut, when I was house sitting I’d open the front door and greet the space like a friend. Glad you have the scripture with you, in heart and hand.

      Now I think about it I do the same here in the monastery, although more generally greeting the monastery and land around. Not everyday. I’ll take up a regular practice of greeting, especially the room that gives me so much.

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