‘Inside’ at Christmas: a Buddhist perspective

christmas lights

Buddhist prison chaplain Anna Carmody shares thoughts for inmates how to handle Christmas. This is wisdom for us all!


That’s hard. Very hard. I guess it doesn’t help to point out that many people dread and hate Christmas. It’s also dangerous with unmanageable debt, drugs and alchohol, domestic violence, suicide – where does it end? In tears, rows and broken hearts.

If you can, don’t think too much about what you are missing. It’s useful to remember that whatever we do, say and think creates a cause that sits on our mental continuum waiting for the conditions to arise that will allow it to become a result. When we are thinking: Poor me. Everyone else is enjoying themselves. Look where I am. Who do I have to share Christmas with? This isn’t Christmas! Where are my presents? My special treats?

We are like children. We hate not getting what we want. We want to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy.Everyone wants to be happy. And if we can remember this – if I can shift my focus from me and mine – my family, my friends, my Christmas cake – and think, how can I help? What can I do? Certainly reach out to your family if you can. If you cannot, if there is too much going on, at least wish them well. May they be happy.

Be happy they are happy.

And the people you are sharing this Christmas with? If you can, remember that everyone is precious and worthy of our love.

And guess what? Looking out for others helps us. We are happier. The Buddhs taught that being satisfied, knowing that when we have what we need, enough is enough, is true wealth.

Seasons greetings! May the many blessings of Christmas rain upon your good self.

From Mind Brakes: The seasonal newsletter for Buddhists on the Inside, December 2021, issue 2

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