Stories of Compassion and Kindness - GOJO BODHISATTVA

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    Stories of Compassion and Kindness - GOJO BODHISATTVA



    Dear All Leafers,

    This is the HOME of GOJO BODHISATTVA, our system for the anonymous publishing of stories of good deeds done, by oneself or heard about others, and all manner of inspiring stories. "Gojo" in Japanese means something like "Helping Together" (合助). It is a vital part of our 'Lend-A-Hand' (LAH) Project.

    We ask folks to submit ANONYMOUSLY their stories of “Good Deeds” from time to time to our “GOJO BODHISATTVA” anonymous publication system by making, monthly or more, a "nameless" post here telling the story. The password is dogen (all lowercase):



    If you wish, you can also email your story to: gojo@treeleaf.org

    By telling these stories ANONYMOUSLY, the good deed doer takes little credit, yet your posting will serve to motivate and inspire countless others. REMEMBER: These stories are not boasts, but are meant to inspire others and provide them with notions and examples of the kinds of helpful, caring activities that they can do too.

    Stories about BIG and little, extra-ordinary and quite ordinary nice things are welcome, and ALL are good LAH! Please do not hesitate to tell your tale because you think it too simple or unimportant. All actions to Lend-A-Hand are special, and have boundless, endless effects!

    Remember, in none of the stories you report is it truly "I" acting, but just the Bodhisattva acting with Compassion, borrowing your hands.

    We look forward to hearing your stories. Many will be reposted in this thread from time to time, to stimulate other members to do much the same.

    Thank you!

    Gassho, Jundo
    SatToday LAH

    Gojo Banner.jpg
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-11-2023, 08:46 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39211

    #2
    Here are some examples of past anonymous LAH reports to GOJO Bodhisattva.

    This tales are posted merely to inspire others to do likewise, and never as a boast or brag.

    Remember, in none of the stories is it truly "I" acting, but just the Bodhisattva acting with Compassion, borrowing our hands:

    Today I was not in a rush, so I gave up my place in line to people a few times. They did not know, because I just ducked to the back of the line or a different line when I was near the front. Nobody noticed me. I was not in a hurry, and they might be hungrier, more tired or needed to get home. I don't know, but I was not in any rush today. In fact, it was a nice lesson in slowing down, intentionally not rushing. Why do we rush even when not in a rush?
    I was in the park yesterday with my child, saw where someone had left a pack of cigarettes and a plastic lighter where kids could get it. Nobody was around. I also saw some bottles and cans nearby. Grabbed a garbage bag from the car and picked most of it up. I think there are cleaning people for the park, but I am not sure when they come.
    I have a co-worker who is preparing for an exam. The office is very busy right now because many employees are ill, so the boss has denied her time for studying at work (something which was allowed in the past). I offered her to take over her job for one hour each day so that she can have that time to study.
    I am very sick right now, but a lovely nurse comes from the agency every day. I cannot do much for her, but she does so much for me. So, I just told her have thankful I am, and that she is an angel.
    Last week, at Lowe's where my mom works, she noticed that an elderly woman was buying some wooden trellace to hide her AC unit. The woman was asking for it to be cut. They told her no, so my mom offered to take it home and cut it to size and deliver it to her later at no charge. She did, and I went with her to put it together. It was so nice to see how happy it made the lady to have some help, as she seemed to live alone. She thought that it was so funny that two women had done all the handiwork, while it was a capable young man who had refused!
    Saw a young waitress in a restaurant today, she looked like she was struggling with orders and messed up ours a little. Found out that she is from Georgia, the country not the U.S. State. Looked up how to say in Georgian "Thank you, you are doing great." (დიდი მადლობა. თქვენ აკეთებთ კარგ საქმეს. - didi madloba. t’k’ven aket’ebt’ karg sak’mes.) She laughed, and I think she said "you're welcome" (but I can't be sure).
    Offered a close friend some words of comfort due to knowledge that one of the people close to him is going to die.

    I said that I would be there for him if he needed anything and wanted someone to talk to.
    A neighbor had a doctors appointment but can't drive, so drove them to the appointment. I had to leave though, because of my own obligation, so they needed to take the bus home. Thus, it is only half a good deed.
    Each day I call a woman who is in her 40s and is dying, and I have been calling her since over a year now, and have grown to love her as a great friend. I am not sure she knows exactly what she means and what friendship means, but this is through a special program that unites an older person, me, and a person in need. But I DO NOT WANT HER TO DIE, and I reach out to my Christian and Buddhist beliefs. Oh I know what the heart is breaking means, and I weep. I WILL NEVER QUIT CALLING!
    I called a friend after seeing a strange post on Facebook, I was concerned. Within moments she was crying because the person who had posted it had not been acting like themselves for weeks. She didn't feel she could turn to anyone and didn't know what to do.

    I have seen mental illness many times, and all the signs are there... including the trigger.

    Now we are planning an intervention, which could very well end in police and a 3-day hold. It is a sad sad thing to do to someone you love. They often hate you for a long time, eventually they may see it was done out of love and compassion.

    If anyone has a moment please offer metta for people suffering from mental illness, and for those who love them, who have to make the hard choice to not be nice, but be compassionate.
    I was having trouble coming up with something I can do every day. I read an article about how bad eating beef is for the environment, so my LAH is to refrain from eating beef and pork. My ideal would be to eat vegan, but just cutting out beef and pork is more difficult than I thought it would be. It is a moment by moment choice.
    I saw a little box turtle trying to cross the road, so I picked him up and carried him to the other side.
    This morning I found a dog. I saw him by the trash cans as they were leaving for work. I got out of the car and started trying to call the dog. A neighbor came out to help. After a little coaxing the dog walked up to me, took some treats and I and the neighbor were able to put a slip lead on him.

    I took him home, and tasked my "other half" with taking him to the shelter. Pictures were taken and posted to Facebook, and some lost and found groups. I hope he finds his home.
    During my lunch break I like to take a little walk around the property where I work. I try and pick up trash not only on out property but also the property of neighboring businesses.
    I usually hear earbuds with music to isolate myself from the busy street, but that morning I had no music. I was going through a project and I heard the garden gate open. That's not strange at all because mailman and neighbors have free access. You have to enter to knock on the door. But this was strange, sneaky.

    I looked outside. A woman (brain and body destroyed by drugs) broke into my house. I saw her stealing some garden tools, put them into her bag and went away. I sprung up off of my chair, went outside and firmly asked her to return the tools.

    She panicked and emptied her bag, things falling to the pavement. Then she took her t-shirt off saying that she didn't take anything. She was getting naked in front of me, in plain street. We discussed for a bit and then I saw that she had thrown the tools to another yard (neighbor's). I simply took the tools back and said that if she needed food or help all she had to do was to knock, but not steal!

    I went back in, put the tools inside. And then, without thinking I went to the kitchen and put some fruit in a bag and went back out again. I ran to meet her again. She was sitting in the sidewalk and was starting to eat some food she had collected from the street. I said again that if she needed help, all she had to do was to knock and ask. I gave her the fruit and she thanked me.
    Down the block where I live there is a family with a kid whom is a star. Everybody loves him. He is a teenager with Down's Syndrome and he can't speak. But he is always playing with his toy cars and trucks. He is always smiling and talking to people on the street. And he loves to sing while "playing" his guitar.

    But one day the kid stopped singing. The whole street lost color and joy and for many days there was no "music".

    I asked his mom what happened and she said that the kid broke the guitar while singing a very emotional song. And she had no money to get a new one.

    I asked her to wait and went to his house to get his guitar. I gave the guitar to the mom so the kid would have a new one.

    A couple of days passed and the kid resumed his concertos while wearing his cowboy hat... or his fireman hat.

    I have no guitar now, but doesn't care one bit because the kid is happy again.
    On Veteran’s Day I saw a gentleman approaching the checkout line at the hardware store as I approached as well. He had a Vietnam Veterans baseball cap on. I let him go ahead of me and I insisted on paying for his lightbulbs. He was very gracious. He tracked me down in the parking lot after our brief exchange and thanked me profusely. He said he didn’t have the words when we were standing at the register. I thanked him for his service and we went our separate ways.
    Yesterday, my friend "L" (who happened to be a nurse), called me to tell me there was this gentleman who was suffering of mobility problems. His name is Bernardo. Diabetes took his health and a leg and is confined to a wheelchair. The problem is that he is very poor and had to rescue a wheelchair from the garbage and tried to repair it. The chair was in really bad conditions. Instead of seat it had a plain wood board. Instead of feet rests, it had some rope and same for the back. The chair was killing his back and kidneys. Being a nurse, L knows how bad it gets for patients when a chair is in this bad shape. So we both started to gather resources to get Bernardo a new chair.

    After sending my donation (as much as I could) I wrote a post on my blog and asked for a little donation. Also posted on Twitter and Facebook. A few minutes later L’s phone went crazy with all the money transfers alerts! In just 2 hours we got the money to get a new chair. Not only that, but we got a little extra to get a better one!

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]8943[/ATTACH]
    At a convenience store, the restroom had waste on the floor. I picked it up. Yes, they have janitors, and I could have told them but I did it to be mindful of my surroundings and having an opportunity for a moment of Samu.
    Many folks toss pop and beer cans out the window while coming into town. When I go walking, I pick them up. It’s good for the environment plus, in my state, the pop and beer cans have a 5 cent refund. I could donate the money to another charity and get another LAH.
    Helped coordinate a food and winter clothing/blankets campaign in my city. Cooked and served food to anyone who needed it. Afterwards, there were still leftovers, my friends and I packaged them up and my wife and I drove around to homeless "camps" in our city giving out hot meals, winter clothing, blankets, fruits, and drinks. We eventually made sure all the food was taken by anyone in need.

    Anytime I do anything like that, I receive teaching in humility from others. More often that not, the people I'm helping are more concerned with getting food/clothing, not for them, but for someone else they know who needs it more than they do. The arms of Kannon can be felt in these moments when humans are being humans to each other and though I thought I was helping someone, they are in turn helping someone themselves. It's really emotional and a blessing to experience.
    I would like to give a shout out to a member who wishes no credit, and would choose to remain anonymous.

    This past week, the person witnessed a family swept away by undertow at the beach, caught next to a jetty. This person (no spring chicken, but obviously in pretty good shape), grabbed a surf board from someone else, and, paddling out, helped rescued the two children and their father and mother with the help of a couple of other surfers. Getting the young daughter on his board, himself risking being pulled into the concrete jetty, he paddled away from the strong current next to the jetty and got her back to the beach. The other family members were fine.


    SatTodayLAH
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    Last edited by Jundo; 10-11-2023, 08:52 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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    • Nengei
      Member
      • Dec 2016
      • 1697

      #3
      Greetings to all! Our dear Gojo Bodhisattva is receiving your messages of sincere Lend-a-Hand activities. Bows to you for sending in some of the little and big things you do each day to cultivate a mind of helpfulness to sentient beings.

      The messages you send to Gojo are not bragging, but example-setting, and helpful to show the members of Treeleaf Zendo Sangha that people are doing good in the world, that the things we do moment-to-moment matter, and even things that take only a little bit of effort and time can add goodness to the world.

      Here are a few examples of what was sent to Gojo, anonymously, this past week:

      I encountered a person who had previously been very hurtful to me. It seemed to me that the hurtfulness came from her own low self-esteem. In the current context I allowed myself both to keep some distance but also to offer her some genuine praise. She responded with relief and joy.
      It is autumn, the time of slippery stepping stones and fallen leaves.
      Observing the few mainly elderly people visiting the nearby memorial for Jewish deportees, sometimes stumbling and slithering towards it, I thought it a good LAH opportunity.
      It is just a small but high wooden gazebo under some old trees with an open roof, the names of the deported engraved in the wood. There aren't many visitors.
      On my weekly autumnally leaf raking round in the garden, I now walk the extra few minutes and do a quick cleanup of leaves and algae on the ground, so nobody gets hurt.
      Gassho.
      In the shower this morning I noticed a little spider struggling to keep from being washed down the drain. I like that spiders exist, but react to them as many people do, with a startle. Instead of letting the spider die in the water, I bent to let it crawl onto my fingers, and reached out to the windowsill with it to let it crawl away. I gasshoed to the spider as it dried its legs and went on it's way.
      .

      The things we do matter. The attitudes we take toward the world around us matter.

      Please send your LAH moments to the universe by posting them (it's anonymous) at the Gojo form, or, if you prefer, email them to gojo@treeleaf.org.

      Gassho,
      Nengei
      Sat today. LAH.
      遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

      Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

      Comment

      • Nengei
        Member
        • Dec 2016
        • 1697

        #4
        Hello, dear Sangha,

        As we begin this wonderful time of rohatsu, bringing to a close yet another ango, I wanted to drop a quick update to our Gojo Bodhisattva activities.

        In this thread, I am updating you with some of the small, yet powerful and deeply meaningful ways our Sangha are lending a hand, performing engaged practice for the benefit of others.

        We have not had many submissions to Gojo Bodhisattva lately, but here are a couple:

        One of my coworkers has been going through a rough patch in her life. I don't know all her back story but I know she lost her first husband when they were young due to cancer. They had four kids together, all adults now. Somewhere in the intervening years she was fortunate enough to find love again and they married.
        Now it seems her second husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Understandably this is impacting her deeply. For some period of time she was obviously unable to hold herself together at work leading meeting. There were a couple of instances over the course of a month where i privately texted her during a meeting to tell her to go and have a little cry. I’d take over the meeting for her. It was a small gesture on my part but it was apparently very meaningful to her. She does pottery as a hobby and this weekend she dropped off a gift she made for me. It is lovely and she obviously put her heart into it. I will cherish the gift.

        The point of my story is not to brag about my good deed but instead to highlight that sometimes just a simple act of kindness can mean so much to the other person and touch them in was we can’t anticipate.

        Gassho
        I have been feeling terrible about my friends in Israel, whose children are military reservists and who know so many families in desperate need. All are asking for money. But I did not feel I could give money to any organization without knowing it wouldn't filter down to supplying bullets. One of my friends' sons has been spending his own savings to buy food, clothing, phone chargers, and other small needs for the families of reservists and people who have been killed from their area. His parents convinced him to take donations from friends who don't want their contributions to pay for war, but instead to help its victims. I sent him some shekels, knowing they would only buy things of comfort. I have always observed this man to be utterly generous and to never refuse help to anyone who needed it.
        Please know that your daily engaged practice of lending a hand carries with it a strong message of hope, love, and peace. It raises bodhichitta in the world. It is a great form of metta. I encourage you to send your anonymous snippets through the link below so that our brothers and sisters can know they are not alone in struggling to bring about better things.

        Please send your LAH moments to the universe by posting them (it's anonymous) at the Gojo form, or, if you prefer, email them to gojo@treeleaf.org.

        Gassho,
        Nengei
        Sat today. LAH.
        遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

        Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

        Comment

        • Nengei
          Member
          • Dec 2016
          • 1697

          #5
          I want to encourage everyone in the sangha to not take credit for the small, helpful things you do for others.

          Wat?

          Please don't take credit by thinking about these things, and releasing them into the universe to help even more. How does this happen? Send your little actions, your instances of practicing-in-real-life, your moments of small things that help, to Gojo Bodhisattva at either the anonymous form linked below, or to the email address gojo@treeleaf.org.

          Here are some examples:
          I noticed my husband's toothbrush was getting kind of worn. I went downstairs to get a new one, and replaced it without saying anything to him. It was just a little unspoken "I love you" to save him the trouble.
          We don't fill our bird feeders in the winter, so that we don't keep any birds from migrating. The squirrels are pretty used to them being full, though, and seem desperate when they are empty. This week we started putting out whole peanuts instead, which the squirrels love but the migrating birds won't eat.
          I started keeping a box of clean and usable jackets and sweatshirt, plus some warm hats and gloves in the back seat of my car in the winter. When I see homeless folks out they often don't have these things, and it is COLD.
          My little son wanted to sit with me in the mornings when I am doing zazen. I made him a small zafu and mat out of an old blanket. I am teaching him little by little to do zazen. He doesn't sit with me every day, but often he does, sometimes for five minutes and sometimes for longer. I feel good that I am passing this on as a no-pressure tradition that he can pick up or leave behind.
          My neighbor lives alone and I know he struggles with money. Last week when I was going out of town I took him a bag of groceries, telling him that I had gotten them but would not be able to use them before I left. I asked him to keep an eye on my place while I was gone.
          Is a mouse a sentient being? I noticed we had signs of a mouse in our kitchen. I bought some no-kill traps that had a place to put a little peanut butter and water. Turns out it was three mice, and they fell for the traps right away. We crossed the river and drove them out to a woods away from our house, and let them go. I know they are still taking their chances with the owls and other critters, but this seemed much better than the usual way.
          Your helpful actions, no matter how small, can help all of us to remember to look for ways to lend a hand to all sentient beings. I PROMISE no one will single you out to praise you or swell your head.

          Please send your LAH moments to the universe by posting them (it's anonymous) at the Gojo form, or, if you prefer, email them to gojo@treeleaf.org.

          Gassho,
          Nengei
          Sat today. LAH.
          遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

          Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

          Comment

          • Nengei
            Member
            • Dec 2016
            • 1697

            #6
            This is a beautiful example of lending a hand, truly helping another suffering sentient being, not by one person, but by two!

            Yesterday while sitting "insta zazen" on the subway on my way to work, a girl came aboard and sat next to me, speaking on the phone. There was no way people around could not overhear what she was saying. It seemed she was calling a friend's mother to raise her concerns regarding her friend not eating anything over the last five days (anorexia). She was crying as she was informing the mother, clearly concerned about her friend's health and how her friend would react when she would understand that she had ratted her out. She hung up. It warmed my heart, and in my mind I gassho'ed to her. What a selfless thing to do, risking her friendship for her friend's health. A brave and compassionate girl. My stop was seconds away. I remembered our LAH practice so I leaned over to this stranger, touched her arm, and as compassionately as possible said: "You did something really nice for your friend. It was the right thing to do. I hope your friend will be ok." I smiled. She seemed a bit more content and relaxed. A smile in return. I exited.
            The girl on the subway went beyond to do what was in her friend's best interest, knowing there could be fallout that would change the nature of her relationship. Then our witnessing sangha member reached out to soften that blow.

            There is never any need to take credit, and I have no idea who it was, who submitted this nice story. But it does help others for you to send in your occasional stories of lending a hand, right here in our sangha. I read this submission to our Gojo Bodhisattva, and I was filled with a sense of peace and hope, that YES! there is goodness in the world.

            May you be free of suffering. May you feel peaceful, and still.

            Gassho,
            Nengei
            Sat today. LAH.
            遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

            Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

            Comment

            • Doshin
              Treeleaf Unsui
              • May 2015
              • 2644

              #7


              Doshin
              Stlah

              Comment

              • Nengei
                Member
                • Dec 2016
                • 1697

                #8
                There is little I enjoy more about my role in Treeleaf Sangha than getting messages that others send about having lent a hand to ease the moment for other sentient beings. When you send an anonymous message through Gojo Bodhisattva or an email to gojo@treeleaf.org, it helps me to see kindness arising in the world and to see strength and beauty in our practice.

                Sometimes people who pay for services from me say that they need to stop for a while, because of their financial problems. When this happens, I tell them that they will be getting free services for a month, or two, or three, until they are back on their feet and can start paying again. I make it clear that there is no expectation to ever repay this. This costs me little besides kindness, and lets them know I want them in my business for who they are.
                Today I was stopped at an intersection and someone was asking for money. I thought I gave money yesterday so today I would just drive on. Then a car in front of me handed some money to the person. He was holding a sign that said “Seeking Kindness”. The donation in front of me had me reverse my decision to drive on and I handed him some money. He thanked me I said just be kind to others. I looked in my review mirror and the car behind me handed out money. It was a chain reaction. When we set a good example others feel compassion arising. The world is seeking Kindness.
                Isn't that last part full of truth? When we think with kindness, speak with kindness, and act with kindness, the benefit to others--and to ourselves--is incomparable. We are, Dogen Zenji wrote, everyone, everywhere.
                The true person is
                Not anyone in particular;
                But like the deep blue color
                Of the limitless sky,
                It is everyone,
                Everywhere in the world.
                - Dogen Zenji
                When we engage with others in kindness, with the intentions of our practice, the benefits are not only theirs, but also ours.

                Gassho,
                Nengei
                Sat today. LAH.
                遜道念芸 Sondō Nengei (he/him)

                Please excuse any indication that I am trying to teach anything. I am a priest in training and have no qualifications or credentials to teach Zen practice or the Dharma.

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39211

                  #9
                  We have had some new submissions to GOJO of some example LAH actions ... meant, not to brag, but merely as examples for what any of us can do ...

                  Having recently acknowledged my difficulty controlling my alcohol consumption, I vowed sobriety, joined AA, and now lead a weekly men's meeting to help support other alcoholics achieve sobriety.
                  Dear Lend-a-Hand

                  I was approached in the street by a homeless person who asked for some money. I said I didn't have any (and I really didn't have any money with me). He said that he would not harm me, he just wanted to eat and buy stuff for him to continue living. I showed him my empty wallet and he recognized that I wasn't lying like many others do in order to not give money or help. Then, I looked him in the eye and said "I'm sorry". He looked back and said "Don't be. You gave something better than money. It has been ten days since someone last looked me in the eye. You treated me like a human being. For that I'm grateful."


                  Gassho, J

                  stlah
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39211

                    #10
                    Some recent submissions to Gojo, examples of Lend-A-Hand, not meant to take credit or boast in any way, but merely as examples of big and little actions to inspire all of us ...

                    A young artist I follow online (who makes their entire living through their art) posted that their computer, from which they run their entire business from, just died - and they had no ability to get another one easily. I anonymously sent them a donation through their PayPal, so that they could start getting back on their feet.
                    It is said that all creatures are invaluable: a human, a cat, an insect. Yesterday I saw a little bug crawling on top of my shoulder. I began to blow it away and it just stayed there. I put the bug on top of a paper next to my window at the office and it seem that it wasn't going anywhere, it looked confused, maybe scared, lost. So when lunch time came I grabbed the paper with the bug, took the elevator and placed the bug gently on top of a leaf in the garden. Normally I'd blow again bugs and throw them mindlessly, but yesterday it was different.
                    I registered for organ donation in honor of a friend who passed on liver disease. I did so in his memory. Please consider to do so as well.
                    JUNDO: Let us sit and offer Metta for all those who may be in need of organs and transplantation someday.

                    To teach my kids about not dumping trash and protecting our environment, we cleaned up a field where people had been dumping trash. Of course, I made sure that they had good gloves and took care. We took it all to the local dump in a truck we rented.


                    Gassho, J

                    stLAH
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Ankai
                      Treeleaf Unsui
                      • Nov 2007
                      • 890

                      #11
                      I recently applied to get a strip of highway assigned to " Treeleaf" to clean up once a month. Whether it's just me and my family, or others in the area, it's a small thing we can do that makes a big difference.
                      I'll post as soon as I know where Treeleaf's section of roadway will be.

                      ST
                      LAH
                      Gassho!
                      護道 安海

                      -Godo Ankai

                      I'm still just starting to learn. I'm not a teacher. Please don't take anything I say too seriously. I already take myself too seriously!

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