The Warm Life Of Buddha

Perhaps it was rude to look at the woman’s face as she dealt with the bank deposit. It was a glance, rather like noticing detail on a mountain side. You know how it is walking along taking in the gullies and streams and the rocky outcrops, perhaps catching a movement in the brush? In this case I briefly scanned the lines and grooves of a skillfully made-up, middle aged, face. Nothing was moving, the expression impassive. Transaction completed we met, smiled and I turned and went on about my business.

The young chap behind the till at the computer shop turned out to be the owner! The lad who had fixed my computer appeared in his The Computer Shop top. Fresh faced with a steady and considered manner. Faces, faces and more faces. Expectations, assumptions, interest, beauty, dignity. All taken in at a glance. Images that can be recalled, however for the most part forgotten. Snapshots.

One of the rules of the meditation hall is not to look at another’s sitting place. Literally, one does not gaze around and look at other people as they sit. Not even a glance, unless it is ones responsibility to do so. Leaving the formality of the hall the teaching informs one’s day. Engage with others, yes. Gaze into their sitting place, no.

No need, no point and ultimately not possible.

This way stands one in good stead on the high street, in the airport or where ever. It all may seem cold and indifferent however that is very far from how it is.

For Mike, the original owner of The Computer Shop, who died on Tuesday.

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9 thoughts on “The Warm Life Of Buddha”

  1. Wow! A banking transaction with a human being!
    Chinese New Year, so we’re winding down today. Glad to hear you’re on the mend.
    In gassho
    Walter

  2. Depending upon your definition of ‘engage’ I understand and agree or feel poles apart.

    I can’t ever know all that is making someone else – all would include the whole universe and a more relative all is still out of my reach. So I need to take care before making judgements and building a story about someone; I don’t have the facts. But some story building is inevitable – I need to connect with people. Solipsism is no use. Engage / Gaze – it seems a fine line before voyeurism. I need to look in to connect at more than a surface level.

  3. “Leaving the formality of the hall the teaching informs one’s day.”

    Until today I had not heard this teaching. I am touched by its simple and profound courtesy.

  4. To respect another’s sitting place, whether physical or spiritual, seems to me a lovely gift based on respect and compassion. An older relative of mine used to stare at people in public and comment on their appearance and/or behavior, and this always felt uncomfortable. Horrors when I found myself doing it too!

    If there is no separation, what is there to stare at?

  5. Quite so, and indeed we meet people, respond in the moment. Just like ‘just sitting’. But you knew that anyway….

  6. Well actually this teaching, which you have put in quotes, is my own understanding/thought on the basic ettiquete we all learn vis. ‘do ones own training’. Is this Jim R, or Jim Mc?

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