There are two types of armour we need to put on each day – the armour of patience and the armour of enthusiastic perseverance. And the perfect way to remember to do this is when we put on our face mask. The very inconvenience and discomfort of it can become a reminder, a kind of mental pause, to strengthen our patience and perseverance.
The two elastics over the ears become bodhisattva earrings, adornments of patience.
The cover on our mouth guards against harsh speech.
The aversion to being muzzled reminds us not to do anything to throw us into the animal realms.
It’s difficult enough to remember our Dharma study, but even harder to integrate it into real life. But something as uncomfortable as a mask really gets our attention, so we can harness that energy to protect others. And by physically protecting them now, we can aspire to ultimately protect them, lifting them all out of samsara and into the blissful peace of liberation where masks and disease no longer exist.
Every day that we put on the Bodhisattva mask armour, we make a minor inconvenience escalate, not into fractiousness and argument, but into an altruistic catapult – straight into the Mahayana conduct!
(And here is the wonderful Helene Holland, who leads the Buddhist Arts Afternoon, and who many of you know as the usher from Sunday morning meditation.)