Caring For Buddha

Cairngorms, Scotland
Cairngorms, Scotland
How about this for a brilliant photograph of The Cairngorms in the Highlands of Scotland. It was taken on a cell phone using the panoramic feature. Thanks to Dave for this brilliant picture. And several hundred miles south in Kendal, in The Lake District Cumbria lights are going on. I love to see the Christmas lights.
Which way Lapland, Mt. Everest and Scarfel Pike?
Which way Lapland, Mt. Everest and Scarfel Pike?
As you can see the signpost proudly sports the distance to Mt. Everest and Lapland. As well as a local mountain, Scarfell Pike. I bet my walking companion has climbed that one at least once. In earlier years I longed to go to Lapland and walk the Kings Trail and even earlier I vowed I’d climb Mt Everest. Neither of which I did. I did however climbed Scarfell Pike with a group from our school, I was about fourteen. A risky climb if I remember correctly.

This is the time of year when many people are climbing aboard trains, ‘planes and automobiles, off to visit family and friends. Not the best time of year to be traveling.  I’ll be  staying at Throssel over the holidays and hoping for good weather when I drive away on January 1st to visit relatives further south. Last year I got caught out on Hartside Top in a blizzard. At the end of that post I promised myself if there was any risk of snow on the Pennines I’d take the long way around. I’ll remember that.

Zen Master Dogen reminds us in several places in his writing that our body is deeply significant and we are urged to take great care. I’d say body/mind is deeply significant. I’ll remember that. Would we not take care of the Buddha?

Let The Light Shine Through

I wish to be washed away
to be as the sea
to BE darkness and light
for the Light to shine through
to the depth

For this Life to be seen.

For this state of profound humility
to be me.

This post is for all those caught up in the recent killings in America. And for all of us who are neighbours, however distant. Within tragedy, horror and confusion the depths of us can shine through. Brighter deeper; still.

In humility we can bow deeply – lost for words. I am.

Thinking Deeply Of The Ways And Means

This week I set myself a sewing task. I can’t reveal what it is because it’s a/several Christmas present(s) for a small boy and a surprise for one of his parents too. (‘reminder to self’, must knit the scarf.) Enough to say I have been involved with wool and toy stuffing, felt and pompom making. Anybody better than me at blanket stitch? Anyway the point is I have been working to a deadline to get all the making up done before Saturday lunchtime. I’m two thirds the way there and when Christmas comes I’ll post photographs of what I’ve been working on. Probably only of interest to knitters and those who like cute stuff suitable for infants.

Working to a deadline has its merits; it keeps one focused, it keeps one working and it signals there is an end. But deadlines have their down-sides. Quality of work can suffer. Quality of mind can suffer. Quality of being present can suffer. In the service of a goal we can so easily loose sight of where we are with ourselves. Lose our sitting place.

For some reason, and I remember why now, I started to think of expectant mothers. The baby due date takes on a massive place in the lives of the parents to be. Each successive scan and check-up are way-markers; a deep sigh of relief for those who have cause to be anxious of results, another heart quickening moment of pride and joy for those who are in the clear. Phew, a moment to pause and think of the mum-to-be I am remembering, and for gran too. (I’m NOT thinking of the Queen either!) This is natures deadline, natures ticking clock.

Whether it is a deadline set by oneself as a skillful means to get a task done, or one set by somebody else to MAKE one get the task done! Or it’s simply nature’s deadline. It’s all the same in the end. While it would seem to be just me, a needle and a length of yarn who accomplish, there is in actual fact an interlinking cast of thousands contributing. When the goal is reached, the deadline met, there is a glow of pride, natural pride, in the achievement. Which is natural enough. However let’s remember the cast of thousands, just for a moment, just that will add a depth of quality to the work as well as bring us back to ourselves. In humility.

What We leave Behind

It is the anniversary of my mothers death today. She died 1994. Such a very long time ago and still like yesterday, in a certain way. My dad and I had been visiting her in the Cottage Hospital in Lynton and while it was touch and go whether she would make it through the night we decided to drive home. Later that evening the hospital phoned to say she had passed away. She was alone, no nurse beside her bed, no loving relative holding her hand or there to wave her off. But somehow I feel that is what she wanted. To be alone, to glide away with nothing holding her back. She was ready to go.

Some people leave a public legacy; music, art, literature, the development of thought, a major contributions to science, a remarkable career – or an infamous one for that matter. My mother left a private legacy, living on in me now. It’s the same for all of us shaped and formed as we are by those around us. Even now. Lets exit in good shape. And let the public record left behind be in good shape too.

The first post on the original Jade Mountains site remembered my mother. I guess she inspired the site when I think of it.

Celebrating Bodhi Day

Many people have been asking me if we celebrate Christmas and I’ve done my best to say what we do and why. We tend to celebrate the Buddha’s Enlightenment later in the month with a special meal on the 25th and we decorate too. Here is an article from the Huffington Post on the subject.

I think of three ways that the traditional story of Buddha’s enlightenment can be reassessed in the light of modern sensibility. The first has to do with Siddhartha’s identity as a man, a prince and a warrior. The second has to do with his intention. And the third has to do with humility.

On Field of Merit I wrote (Time For Celebration) about the intensive meditation retreat leading up to December 8th, traditionally the date Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s Enlightenment AKA Bodhi Day. Here are some ideas for celebrating the Buddha’s Enlightenment.

Congratulations and celebrations on the event of a long time reader and supporter of Jade Mountains who is getting married this very day. Well done! It is a Buddha Day.