The Jewel Called Dharma

At Throssel helping to run a retreat. The Internet’s been down, a B.T. blunder I believe!

There’s a bird
on a branch
in a tree
beside the lane.

A Song Thrush
Singing its
heart out
unstintingly.

Never the
same song.
Ever renewing
the joy.

The Song Thrush song has carried me along these past full days. Joy? The joy is that which we share within. That which is unstinting and shines as a jewel. The Jewel we call Dharma. The very same Jewel shining in the dining room, cloister, ladder, kitchen. Digging the earth and tending the garden. May it ever be thus.

Good-Time, Hard-Time Cat

Nigel and ginger cat
This ginger is Spain’s ‘every cat’, every stray cat that is. They all need a special tender touch considering how many of them live on the edge. Many have taken to climbing into car engines to warm up and this happened to a couple I know while holidaying in Spain recently. They had driven for more than an hour up a mountain road unknowingly giving a cat the ride of it’s life! Thankfully it didn’t die but one can imagine it might have done on a longer journey. So, be warned, and check under the car bonnet for cats before driving off, when in Spain. That’s probably the last thing one might think of doing!

And closer to home, in London, around ten hand picked stray cats are having the time of their life! Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, England’s first ‘cat cafe’ opened at the start of the month. A cafe for those who enjoy tea ‘n cakes – and playing with cats. Sounds like the whole venture is geared around the welfare of the felines, thankfully.

I’m left thinking this evening about these few good-time cats in London and the untold numbers of strays needing homes all around the world. If the the existence of The Cat Emporium (and similar ventures in the future) highlights the need for cat rescue then it will have done a great service.

To Be Grateful…

Tea Treat delivered by courier

Tea Treat delivered by courier

Feelings of gratitude come and go in response to having been given something. A present, teaching, advice, the extended hand of friend. And as it has come this day, a tea treat delivered by a man with a van; a gift via a courier service on a clear sunny spring day. Moved to tears earlier in the morning, once again realizing that Sangha friendship is a gift well past what might be exchanged.

During formal meals traditionally taken during zen retreats, and at other times too, we recite the names of the Ten Buddhas out of gratitude. The first one is Vairochana Buddha:

The completely pure Buddha,
Vairochana Buddha,
Dharma itself;

Vairochana is associated with/representative of emptiness or Original Body. With clear eyes Vairochana is manifesting everywhere and at all times, a gift well past what is being made manifest in form.

Thank you Sangha Friends for pointing to the pure body of the Buddha. Tomorrow I’ll enjoy tea, scones and jam with a visiting friend.