My Mom — The Bodhisattva
I woke up this morning and knew that I wanted to write about my mom since it is her birthday today. I get emailed daily quotes from Tricycle (Buddhist magazine) and this is the one that I received today:
It’s not enough just to know the definition of bodhisattva. What’s much more important is to study the actions of a bodhisattva and then to behave like one yourself.
— Kosho Uchiyama, “What Is a Bodhisattva?”
And I thought, “How appropriate that I would get this quote today, on my bodhisattva mom’s birthday!”
Ok, what the hell am I talking about? A bodhisattva is someone who is on the path to becoming a Buddha. More specifically, it is a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings. And if that doesn’t describe my mom, then nothing will.
She is that person, always thinking of others. Working, unselfishly, to help others with their struggles and issues so that they can suffer a little less. That is my mom. I am very, very blessed to have her as my mom.
Going back to the quote, if you want to be more Buddha-like, study the Bodhisattva and then behave more like them. That is an easy instruction, a little harder to put into an actual practice but my mom does. She is the best example of a Bodhisattva I know. She is kind, caring, always thinking of others, service minded. She is the best person I know. And I know a lot of people! She is Buddhaful!
Let me give you an example:
Yesterday we were talking (we talk every morning) and I mentioned that I might have to cancel the dog’s vet appointment because today I have a busy day and I am not sure that I can fit it all in. She listened and then we moved on with our conversation. Hours later, I received a text from her saying that she felt terrible that she didn’t offer to take the dog to the vet for me.
Ok, this was not her task. And not her dog. It was very nice that she thought of this solution at all. I had already solved the dog issue and had it handled. I told her thank you in the text but that I figured out a way to keep the appointment and I appreciated her thoughtfulness.
My mom felt so terrible for not offering to take my dog to the vet for me, she made me my favorite cheese biscuits which are a major pain in the ass to make! I mean who does that??
That is who she is. Always. Every single day. Always thinking of others and how she can be of service. She has studied what a bodhisattva is and I think she gets up every day and tries to behave like one. Clearly she was yesterday!
But of course it wasn’t just yesterday, it is every day. She lives her life looking for ways to serve others…me in particular. I am the welcome recipient of a great deal of her thoughtfulness and kindness. I am always very grateful but also don’t feel like I adequately express it to her. How very much it means to have her in my life, to be close in proximity and heart with her and for all she does for me and my family. I am very grateful and blessed.
So today it is her special day and I hope that I can give her one tenth of the feeling of love and support that she gives me every day. I am less far down the path of becoming a Bodhisattva than her. But I try, she just does a little (read a lot) better than me.
Happy Birthday Mom! I love you. I am grateful for your example, for your love, kindness, support and yesterday for cheddar biscuits even though I totally did nothing to deserve them! Thank you for being my sounding board, my stalwart support and always having my back. I do my best to give back according to your example but find that I am still, far too often, consumed by self, work and child rearing. Regardless, I do set an intention every day: “Today, be more like your mom.” And I know there are not a lot of people, especially women my age, that can say that or would even want to.
But I can and do. You embody the spirit of a Bodhisattva and are the best example of a living Buddha that I know. Thank you for showing me daily how to deepen my practice of gratitude, compassion and love. May this day you feel all the things you give daily, radiated back to you ten fold. I love you! May you have a great day that is all about you!