Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thinking of Ani-la

I am today thinking about a friend of mine.

Right now, as you are reading this, there are quite literally thousands of people who might not be alive, if they had not had the good fortune to meet her during the first moments of their lives.

As it happens, my friend is a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Since this is her thirtieth year in the profession, the people who are alive through her efforts range in age from thirty to just a few moments ago. It is more than likely that none of them have ever given her a moment's thought; nor indeed, do they even know of her existence. Nor is it probable that their parents think much about her, as to them she is but a nameless artifact from a time of crisis and expense they choose to forget. Thus, the thanks she has received are slender, and the work itself has been her reward.

A Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse is the person who watches over you like an angel while you are struggling to find your way into the world. If you are born prematurely, drug or disease impaired, or with defect, separated from your mother, she is the one who finds you. You are alone with her for the first hours and days of your life, protected by her vigilance and skill, and more often than not, it is the quality of her care that plays a major role in whether or not you will live or die,

I want to mention that for twenty-three of the thirty years noted above, my friend has been a Tibetan Buddhist nun, associated with the Nyingma school.As such, she is the first Tibetan Buddhist nun in history to become involved in neonatal intensive care. Not only has she excelled in her profession, but in her practice as well. As such, she is a shining example to other Western dharma practitioners, and well deserving of praise.

Today, please join me in extending heartfelt appreciation to the utterly courageous Ani Nydia for her tireless efforts, and to her colleagues in the profession of neonatal intensive care nursing. If, during the course of your journey, you are fortunate enough to meet bodhisattvas, you should never fail to afford them your deepest respect. When faced with the example of superior men and women, you should also examine yourself very closely, and ask yourself what is is you have accomplished during your precious human existence, and how you could be better.

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