The Buddha, Kipling and Heartbreak

As some of you know, I began a Master of Divinity program this year via Naropa University. Naropa is a Buddhist school and my program has an emphasis on Buddhist Studies and Contemplative Care. For one of my classes, I created a podcast.

Titled “The Buddha, Kipling and Heartbreak”, this podcast explains how Buddhism, in particular meditation and mindfulness, can help us cope with the loss of a pet. More broadly the teachings explained in this podcast can help with losses of all kinds in our lives. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. I think this podcast and its theme/content is very much in line with the purposes I had in mind when I started this blog more than 7 years ago.

I hope this is of benefit to some people and please excuse the rough nature of the podcast. Below the link to the podcast you can find the original Kipling poem that inspired the podcast.

Peace and love,


The Power of the Dog

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair, –
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent,
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long –
So why in – Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

11 thoughts on “The Buddha, Kipling and Heartbreak

  1. Matt, I can’t think of a better place for you than Naropa. I know of it through Zvi Ish-Shalom, who is faculty there. It is a very special place. Your experience and their knowledge/spirituality are a perfect fit. I was never in the armed forces, in fact I was an anti war activist in the 60’s/70’s, but found a home with current activists through you. I had trauma, even without combat experience, and healed through spiritual meditation/guidance. I have enormous respect for you and others in VFP. Just great news where you are and are headed. I will listen to the podcast tonight. David Salmon


    • Thank you so much David, this is very meaningful to receive. I am glad to learn you have found solace with current activists and I hope your PTSD is being managed.

      Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you my friend. Thank you again for this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Matt,

    Perfect timing. I opened this e-mail just after returning from a moonlight walk with my latest dog.

    I’ve given my heart to seven dogs to tear so far, including Wylie, my current 50 pounds of love, sweetness, and mischief.

    I had never encountered this Kipling poem before. It is wonderful Thanks for sending. I’ve put the podcast on my stack and will try to listen to it over the next several days. (I can’t imagine listening for an hour and a half at one sitting.)

    Semper fi,




    • Thanks Ken! Yes, at 90 minutes it is long, but it was a school project so I had to cover a lot, plus you know how I can run my mouth 😉

      I hope all is well in NM and that you are staying healthy and well. I am glad you have Wylie with you.

      I hope to see you in person this year. Fingers crossed we can have an in-person VFP convention (although I don’t think it will be likely).



  3. Brother, the podcast don’t play. Have only tried from smartphone, will try from laptop later on.

    Good poem..  but there ain’t no way to love without your heart breaking.

    ⁣Get BlueMail for Android ​


  4. Hi Matthew,

    Very timely thoughts for me. Little Louie was irreplaceable, but so was our friend Mike Herron, killed by Covid in April. Just thinking this in no way limits the pain of either loss, but it does confer perspective.

    His absence still tears at my heart, and when I re-hear in my mind his moan of pain trying to swallow through a torn esophagus, it stops me dead. But he gave me so much more to remember, to give my heart some ease.

    His protegee and playmate Maxi helps.

    Your spiritual undertaken seems a brave and righteous choice. May you flourish.

    best to you with best hopes and wishes for 2021.


    Listen to my podcasts at Understand the news, 1 story at a time.



    • Thank you so much for these words Dave. I am very sorry for Louie and Dave. I am glad you have Maxi with you.

      Please give my love to Amy. I am still planning on driving though NM at some point.

      Please keep healthy and Happy New Year to you and Amy.

      Much love,


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