Basic Practices

Second Body

Our first body is our self. Our second body is another person in the Sangha, who we look after as an extension of ourselves. If you are my “second body” then, I am your “caring friend”. Everyone chooses one person to be his or her second body and that person chooses someone else; so we create a complete circle with each person linked to the next. We should feel very connected to our second body, as if he or she is a part of ourselves that we want to pay attention to and care for. So if our second body is not well, we find out how we can assist him or her, such as bringing meals to his or her room and letting the community know that our second body is ill. If we notice that our second body is less than happy, by asking and observing we may see a way that we can help. If you need to miss an activity, let your caring friend know.

Our caring friend is not a police person keeping watch over our activities, rather he or she is someone who shows special care and concern for us and we in turn show special care for our second body. Remember that each person has somewhat different needs, so let us be sensitive and intelligent in how we show our care. Sometimes, a few words of kindness are needed and at other times, dwelling in our own island of conscious breathing is the best support for our friend.

Caring for our second body is a very concrete practice for us to stay connected to each other and to realize how we are all truly parts of one body. Everyone in the Sangha has his or her second body. The person whom your second body is taking care of is thus your third body. Therefore, by taking care of your second body you take care of the whole Sangha body.