Category Archives: Teachings

Enjoy The Journey

Driving out of Portland the city at dawn was magical. Then crossing the Columbia River on the road bridge, the water on fire with the rising sun, Mount St Helens waking up in the eastern horizon. On returning nine hours later after attending a funeral I saw only traffic! Driving focused on reaching the temple at a prearranged time I missed the journey. Even missing the yellow light signalling the car was close to running out of petrol! Then relaxing with a cup of tea this quote, attached to a tea bag.

Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Interconnected Suffering

Upside down, inside out. Topsy-turvydom! That’s the sense of the world right now. Does a day go by when topsy-turvydom, defined as a state of extreme confusion and disorder, does not impact us. Individually and collectively. Viscerally. Recent news, and if I think back I can’t remember when this has not been the case, brings us into contact with suffering. World suffering. Mass suffering.

While suffering is personal/individual it is, simultaneously, universal. Great Grief is the response; a deep connection of sympathy, love, compassion which showers on all, equally and without discrimination. While living in the world of duality the response need not come from duality. However ones response will invariably be conditioned to a greater or lesser extent and so it is that meditation and the Buddhist Precepts inform and guide ones response.

I’m thinking of the teaching of the Net of Indra and of the Tower of Maitreya. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, the image of Indra’s net is used to describe the interconnectedness of the universe:

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering “like” stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.

The merit of this post is for all those caught up, directly impacted or indirectly impacted by the happenings, past/present/future in this topsy-turvy saha world. The above link goes to a long passage from the Avatamsake Sutra, AKA The Flower Adornment Sutra.

Clouds and Water – Life and Death

SAMSUNG

I’d not thought
Not imagined
It possible
To know
Profound peace
In the face of
death.

Life/death
clouds/water
Flowing together
friends.
Unhindered.
The true Unsui?
Is as this.

SAMSUNG

Merit to all whose death seems untimely – by what means is a life span measured.

Note: The lenticular cloud (above) was floating close to the mountain casting a long unmoving shadow.

To The North a Thousand Buddhas

Not the Northern Lights!
Not the Northern Lights!
I received an email from Michael with this poem. Like the poem published yesterday it speaks to the heart. Written from the heart.
Happy New Year everybody.

Such a lovely black and cold night here. The sky was dancing with northern lights. Here are a few words inspired by Rev. Master Meian’s recent Dharma Talk, These Thousand Buddhas
Stretch Out Their Hands To Us
.

I follow my headlights through the blackness.
To the north a thousand Buddhas
gaze at me with eyes like stars,
sparkling kindness.
They wear robes the colour of jade
and float weightless over the void.
They are forever.
Now I see them.
Yesterday I didn’t.
Tomorrow does not matter.

Michael Burrows, Alberta Canada.

Sharing in Knowing

One cannot stay on the summit forever —
One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this!

What is above knows what is below —
But what is below does not know what
is above.

One climbs, one sees —
One descends and sees no longer —
But one has seen!

There is an art of conducting one’s self in
the lower regions by the memory of
what one saw higher up.
When one can no longer see
One does at least still know.

René Daumal

The above has been carried by a woman for twenty years. The paper it is typed on is yellowing. I’m honored to have her permission, and trust, to publish here for others to appreciate. There is a knowing that we all share in – this is a reminder.

The mountain is not some far off distant place.