Richmond Park. London, Tuesday. A hidden gate leading to nowhere in particular. A hidden gem of an iron gate with remarkable detailing. And the park itself. Hardly hidden yet remarkable. A gem of an open rural playground. For all.
Today marks the end of nearly three weeks away from home base. The way has been varied, from Welsh hills to Derbyshire Dales. Rural to urban to plain old motorways. All to the accompaniment of…? Hard to express yet ever-present. I guess it’s the music of The Way. Background music. And I’m not talking about the racket of the exhaust pipe vibrating against the body of the car I’ve been driving!
Note added 19th August. For those who wonder/worry. The cause of the noise was an easy fix. just a bolt on exhaust pipe heat shield sheared off. What a clatter! Friendly local garage fixed it for free.
From a reader:
I would like to thank you (Mugo) for the link to Reverend Saido’s video on The Four Noble Truths. I found it very helpful indeed, particularly his reference to the need for being careful in the event of the falling away of a ‘chunk’ of the ‘stuff’ pointed to in box one.
This mention of stuff falling off reminded me of something that happened very early on in my life. Why should the falling away happen to a four year old, as it did for me? It was not as if I’d been intentionally practicing anything specific at that age. What, in general terms, did/does it mean for the rest of my life? The following thirteen years were lived in ignorance of what exactly had happened that day?
Now, decades on I wish to at least try to convey a feeling of the event:
Gazing at the blue sky
Fluffy clouds drifting across
Suddenly present way, way up
Nothing but vast light-space-distance all around
Wonderful, wonderful boundlessness, everything encompassed
Whilst returning/descending, a great falling away from within
Rendered transparent, utterly clear, no body here at all
And yet someone still returned
The whole world now my home, the whole sky my roof
Intimate/loving everyone, wanting to know about their lives, but how to ask?
I feel privileged to have known it, although known and it are not quite right. I never have understood why this should have happened and the certainty/clarity I was left with evaporated in time.
Over the years I’ve tried to leave the door open and remain receptive, being careful not to strive for understanding or cling through Zen practice to the experience. And there has been the help of Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey and Reading Priory.
Thanks to Ross for this. Many people struggle with this sort of experience when young, as in this case, and when older too. Most often there is no context, such as a faith tradition, to help somebody to fully appreciate the meaning of such an experience. I’m glad he found guidance.
An overview of the Four Noble Truths from the point of view of a Soto Zen Buddhist practitioner, Saido Kennaway, at Telford Buddhist Priory.
Buddhist teachings show you a way of practice, to become liberated from greed hate and delusion and in this very moment realise, Bright Buddha Nature. In other words Practice-Enlightenment.
I’ve listened to Rev. Saido give this presentation ‘live’ a number of times and always end up inspired. Now I see he has recorded a video and available for all. Go to the Telford Buddhist Priory website and click on the ‘Talks’ link for a couple of short teaching videos answering the questions, Buddhism goes on about suffering. Don’t you find it pessimistic and depressing?Are you Enlightened? How would you know if you were or weren’t? Both recorded by the Clearvision Trust.
Today, still staggering about suffering from the heat, still needing to find somebody to look at a seriously non fitting door when good fortune fell in my path. A works van pulled across the pavement in front of me to park. Long story short the lovely chap, Graham, is going to come and look at the door. Thing is, he said, plastic doors swell in the heat! Tell me! I thought.
This sculpture called Water Cut suits the mood of the morning, I find it uplifting and remember well the day I hiked up to see it high above the River Eden in the Mallerstang Valley in Eastern Cumbria. June 30th 2013.
The space carved between the two vertical pillars creates the shape of a meandering river in the sky and provides a ‘window’ onto the real river in the valley below. It also symbolises the power of the river Eden cutting through the rock on its journey through East Cumbria and our own human journeys through the rural landscape and through life.