There’s a phrase I came across in the last twenty years—“news you can use”—which I think came from one of Pema Chödrön ’s books.
Which reminds me of U.S. poet Ezra Pound’s version of a Confucian classic— “In letters of gold on T’ang bathtub: as the sun makes it new/day by day make it new/yet again make it new,” which became a modernist credo.
Which reminds me of a poem I share frequently, “The Good News” by Thich Nhat Hanh, which he wrote presciently in the late 1970s (“The good news they do not print/The good news we do print”).
All of which is to recognize that Amy Schmidt’s book Dipa Ma has news that I can use, it is a work to make myself and others new, and it is a demonstration itself of good news.
Less than two hundred pages but packed with one-liners, stories, recollections, and contextual advice, I offer five examples of the Good News of Dipa Ma…
When I feel I am not up to a particular challenge, I do well to call to mind this simple story: “Dipa Ma and I were on an airplane coming to the States from India. it was very, very turbulent, and at one point the plane hit an air pocket and dropped. Drinks and other objects flew up to the ceiling as the plane dropped downward before hitting stable air again. I kind of screamed. Dipa Ma was sitting across the aisle from me and she reached out and took my hand and she just held it. Then she whispered, ‘The daughters of the Buddha are fearless.’” Read the rest of this entry »