Not sure if the prayer wheel made me more compassionate…

but I did do good things for friends in a bind last night. They had car trouble and I was the only one with the time and ability to drive back and forth across town for them while they tried to get out of it.

The Maitreye Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour stopped in Saskatoon over the weekend. I stopped in for a few minutes on Sunday to see what it was like. There were boxes set up with printed cards in them featuring photos and information about the Buddhist masters whose remains were being honoured. The most recent ones had relics of hair and bone and teeth in front of them. Others had small granules and pebbles and

Buddhists believe these relics are produced as a result of the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom. Since we can all develop these qualities, the relics are a reminder of our own essential nature of purity and our inner potential to manifest that.

I didn’t experience any inspiration or noticeable healing around them that some have reported feeling, but I also didn’t do the whole head-on-the-pillow honouring routine, either. I just went around the table watching everyone else do that and gave a prayer wheel a spin clockwise. I was supposed to be envisioning some sort of white light and goodness or something that would radiate outwards into world and those in it.

I came out of it thinking that religion has uses in terms of reminding people that love and kindness and compassion are necessary and worth striving for, but I also came out of it wishing that religions weren’t necessary to remind people of that. They are feelings and behaviours that should come naturally to us. We should be compassionate and do the kind things not because a religion and its great leaders say we ought to, but because we know in our hearts that it’s the only right and proper thing to do. The only right and proper thing to be. Be there for others. Do right by others. Be the love and compassion and kindness we want to see in the world. Lead by example, not out of guilt or fear of a nasty afterlife, but because we want to.

Because we have to.

Because it’s the only way we can be.

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