All of us need to begin by respecting ourselves

and see how we can spread that respect around

to include everyone we encounter,

everyone we practice with,

everyone we see on the street.

To understand their suffering when they’re suffering,

knowing that they have feelings just as we do.

To be kind to them and to be kind to ourselves.

To take care of their suffering

as we take care of our own suffering.

To see how intimately we are woven together

with each being and to embrace ourselves

as we are and to embrace everyone

as she or he is.

And if someone needs some improvement,

work with the person.

I could use a little improvement.

Help me.

If you could use a little improvement,

ask for help.

~Zenkei Blanche Hartman

(1926-2016, Soto Zen teacher,

co-abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center)

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