The Best Graduation Speech Ever?

George Saunders, Commencement Syracuse 2013, Madyamaka, David Foster WallaceMy dear friend Abigail  sent me this New York times reprint of George Saunders’ speech at the 2013 Syracuse University commencement. I’ve read and heard some great graduation speeches before, but his speech, with great humor, is some of the best spiritual advice I’ve seen, anywhere. It is always quite tricky to claim that something not explicitly dharmic is somehow “Buddhist,” but his three “Darwinian confusions” could very easily be taken from Madyamaka (Middle Way) philosophy. It’s a pretty amazing read. What it brought up for me is the need for our intention to be incredibly simple in daily life. We need some rallying cry, some mantra, some contemplation that we can return to when we lose our Northstar moment by moment. Perhaps kindness is the best mantra.

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