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Bodhisattva Prayer for Humanity

In my post one step, then another, I concluded with The Prayer of St. Francis, which is a significant part of my life and of my family.

Recently, I came across this prayer and understand the Dalai Lama recites it daily. I found several links between the two prayers. I serve as a guide, bridge between the our lives and those in need. There are many metaphors in this prayer for me to take the shape of as I move through the world. Even if I cannot reach others physically, perhaps I can be a lamp from a distance as to help guide them in a moment of darkness.

Perhaps it is only in a kind word and acknowledging of the other who is present as we pass each other in a store. Kindness can be in short supply and in moments such as the one we are presently in a smile and greeting may make all the difference.

As I watched the news last night, they interviewed people who were setting up local help initiatives for seniors, donating food that might go to waste from a restaurant, and setting up a small food bank on the walk in front of their house. It is in moments such as this we become a lamp in darkness, a vase of plenty, and a tree of miracles.

Too often, we think (over-think) that miracles happen out there with some divine impulse. Maybe it is in the ordinary we discover the extraordinary.

“May I be a guard for those who need protection
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened.”

The other day, I heard Lean on Me by Bill Withers. It has this prayer’s message. Withers wrote the song as a call to others to lean on one another during challenging times. This form of love is agape, a love of one another as human beings, as opposed to a romantic love per se. But, romantic love that survives to become a pragmatic love (from the Greek pragma) takes on the agape more than romantic with time and seasoning.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

29 responses »

  1. Posted your post on Facebook. We do need prayer. If you don’t have a favorite or a source, simply pray from your heart.

  2. Ivon, what a wonderful post. So very soothing. What a wonderful prayer. I’ve seen others which are very similar. Thank you for posting this one. Wishing you and your family well in these unusual circumstances. May blessings and miracles continue to be yours.

  3. What the world needs now is kindness. With our phones and computers still working, we have a way to touch many with our words. Some people are so stressed right now that a kind word or gesture means more than it usually would.

  4. I was about to ask you if agape was Greek. Asked and answered:) I like this prayer too. Thanks for sharing😊


    • Agape is the fraternal love for other humans and their souls. It is one of the 7 forms of love the Greeks identified. Pragma is not synomomous with practical. It means a long standing love. As people grow into it, there might be practical aspects to it e.g. finishing one’s sentences.

  5. Hello
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  6. I actually taught during the making of the film “Lean on Me”. It became our school’s theme song. We need to lean on each other more than ever. Thanks for the memories.

  7. The news is so negative these days.
    But every once in a while, they will mention some of the kind acts that are happening in the midst of all this trouble. The shopping assistance, the soothing phone call, etc.
    The ‘ordinary’ people–the angels all around!

  8. Thanks for visiting my site again, Ivan.
    I so resonate with this prayer, because it highlights so many ways that we can respond to suffering of others in our world. Each of us has unique gifts, talents, Each of us is equipped to respond to our brothers and sisters in particular ways: a smile, a kind word or act, a gentle touch, a home-cooked meal — there are endless possibilities for comforting and consoling our fellow humans. In this time of physical separation, we are finding non-physical ways to unite with friends and family — even total strangers! How creative we’ve become!

    I’m going to copy the prayer and keep it as a reminder of my responsibility now — to be the Light, the Wayshower, the Guide, the Angel. This is why we are here NOW. Thanks for the reminder, Alia

    • You are welcome Alia. It is a beautiful prayer. We need these words, thoughts, and actions during Covid-19. You are right. We are responsible to ourselves and others, seen and unseen, to make our way through this world in a meaningful and ethical way. Humans can be creative and it is in these times that creativity shines a light on the path. Take care and stay well.

  9. Beautiful post, Ivon… Thanks for sharing.


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