These days, loving, attentive care is in high demand. Emerging from a global pandemic that remains a threat in certain communities and to certain people, we’re wounded and anxious. War rages in Ukraine, violence continues close to home, and the climate crisis looms large. Many of us may find ourselves reflecting on the people who have taken care of us in the past or continue to offer a loving presence in our lives, whether they are our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or caregivers. There’s a Tibetan Buddhist teaching that describes how all beings have been our mothers at one point in the cycle of rebirth. This Mother’s Day, we practice seeing everyone we encounter as our mother.
As the following selection of articles and talks shows, there is no one right way to be a maternal caregiver. We hope their journeys and perspectives offer insight into a day that can be both joyous and difficult.
The Buddhist Bet by Leslie Mancillas
Struggling with addiction and on the edge of suicide, a mother makes a final attempt at embracing life—and challenges her daughter to do the same.
Mindful Parenting: Nurturing an Intentional, Compassionate Family with Sumi Loundon Kim
Raising compassionate children means being a compassionate parent. Buddhist chaplain Sumi Loundon Kim offers a series of teachings and practices based on her experience as a mom.
As If I Were Your Mother by Sarah Aceto
What if we practiced the inverse of the mother teaching—what if we acted as if every being were our child?
The Dismay of Motherhood by Mary Talbot
Having children is often framed as a kind of spiritual liberation, but sometimes it can seem like a deeper entanglement in suffering.
Healing from Miscarriage by Mindy Newman
Women who have miscarriages often feel alone in their grief. Buddhist teachings can provide context for understanding their experiences.
Cycles of Motherhood by Barbara Gates
A writer reflects on her elderly mother’s uniquely challenging qualities.
How a Mother Would Tell the Buddha’s Story by Anne Cushman
Who was the Buddha’s mom? Writer Anne Cushman reimagines Queen Maya, mother of the Buddha, and offers a retelling of her son’s birth story.
Strange Situation Interview with Bethany Saltman by Wendy Biddlecombe Agsar
Two mothers discuss Buddhist practice and attachment.
Mother of Tulkus by Alexander Gardner
The story of one Tibetan mother who refused to surrender her children to monastic life.