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Language: English / Gàidhlig

Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Covid-19 Recovery Strategy, Health and Social Care (Winter Planning), Environment Bill, Urgent Question, Covid-19 Regulations (Scrutiny Protocol), Decision Time, Big Noise Programme (Wester Hailes), Correction


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Good afternoon. I remind members of the Covid-related measures that are in place, and that face coverings should be worn when moving around the chamber and across the Holyrood campus.

The first item of business is time for reflection, and our leader today is Ani Rinchen Khandro, director of Kagyu Samye Dzong Edinburgh meditation centre, and honorary Buddhist chaplain with the University of Edinburgh chaplaincy service.

Ani Rinchen Khandro (Kagyu Samye Dzong Edinburgh Meditation Centre and University of Edinburgh Chaplaincy Service)

Time for reflection—the very thing that we are so short of in these testing times. “Time poor” is a phrase that I think that we can all relate to as we try to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of life. Events and challenges seem to come at us from all directions, constantly demanding our attention, and it becomes difficult to know what to do first.

We may start by dealing with whatever issue is uppermost in our in-tray, then going on to the next and the next, with barely a moment in between, so that we are like the sorcerer’s apprentice, constantly mopping up one deluge after another—hardly a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, some people can become so exhausted, stressed out and anxious that they turn to drink or drugs to self-medicate in an effort to blot out the noise. That is understandable, but does not help to provide the clarity needed to make good decisions, for ourselves or others.

Whether our responsibilities are familial, national or international, if we wish to do the best by others, we need to be at our best: calm, clear and compassionate. Therefore, it is not selfish to take time out to rest, to be in nature, to reflect, to meditate—call it what you will. We would not expect our body to be constantly active 24/7 without respite, yet we seem to ask that of our minds. Is it not time that we gave our minds time to come home, let go of all the busyness, put down the mental baggage of the day and rest unencumbered, light, peaceful and aware?

By getting to know our mind in its natural state, we are nourished by the experience of connection to each other, to all life forms and to the planet. Then, when it is time to act, we can do so with renewed energy, wisdom and compassion for ourselves and others.

I would like to end with a Buddhist prayer of aspiration, which I hope will resonate with you all.

May all beings be happy and create the causes of happiness.
May we be free of suffering and from creating the causes of suffering.
May we find that noble happiness that cannot be tainted by suffering.
May we attain universal compassion, beyond bias to friends or others.