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.

Buddha’s Halo Origami Style

Origami Halo
Origami Halo

This piece of origami came in the post today. The Buddha is sometimes depicted with a multi-coloured halo, rainbow halo. And since the last couple of posts are talking about light and luminosity emitting from the Buddha this piece of origami just had go behind the Buddha on the altar. For now at least.

What Caused This Radiance?

Vairochana Buddha on Lotus Throne
Vairochana Buddha on Lotus Throne

The above image is from this source with gratitude.

At that moment the Bodhisattva known as the Lord whose Light Blossoms Forth to Penetrate the Deepest and Most Subtle Truths, having emerged from his samadhi in the great and splendours light, arose from within the assembly and, through the spiritual powers of the Buddha, poured forth a radiance in the form of a while cloud, brilliant as a diamond, in order to illumine all those worlds. The whole multitude of Bodhisattvas came and gathered within it to ask, in different ways but with the same intention, what caused this radiance. Shakyamuni Buddha then respectfully welcomed all this great multitude from these worlds within the lotus pedestal and led them back to the palace that glistened with millions upon millions of purple-hued diamond lights. There they beheld Vairochana Buddha seated upon His lotus pedestal which glittered brightly with thousands upon millions of lotus flowers.

After Shakyamuni Buddha and the whole assembly had simultaneously prostrated themselves in homage at the feet of Vairochana Buddha, Shakyamuni asked, “How can all sentient beings of earth and sky within those universes attain the path of the Ten Stages of Bodhisattva? What signs do Bodhisattvas display when they are about to realize the fruition of Buddhahood? Amongst the multiplicity of aspects that have their origin in the absolute Buddha Nature, pray explain in detail what the seeds of the Bodhisattvas are.”
From the The Scripture of Brahma’s Net, Buddhist Writings, Shasta Abbey Press.

This is a long and detailed scripture and this post and the previous one give a flavour of what is to come. From time to time I’ll return to it.

The Devas Also Felt Apprehensive

Time to let the light shine in directly.

Radiant Buddha Within The Limitless Sky
Radiant Buddha Within The Limitless Sky

On The Foundations of Training.
At the time when Shakyamuni Buddha, whilst in the Fourth Region of the Meditational Heavens, was residing in the palace of the deva king Maheshvara along with the immeasurably great deva king Brahma and millions upon millions of Bodhisttvas, He spoke of the various aspects of the Dharma regarding the Foundations of Training which Vairochana proclaims whilst enthroned upon His lotus pedestal which contains all worlds within it.

On this occasion, Shakyamuni’s whole being glowed with the light from His discerning wisdom. This light shone forth from the palace of the deva king, reaching all the worlds contained within the lotus pedestal. All sentient beings living in all those worlds looked at each other with delight and joy, but as they could not yet grasp what the cause of this radiance was or what brought it about, they all gave rise to misgivings, and the innumerable devas also felt apprehensive.

With great gratitude to Michael in Canada for this image sent a few hours ago via email. He said, This is my work Buddha sitting on a window ledge. He seems particularly luminous today. It’s the perfect image to accompany the above text which comes at the start of The Scripture of Brahma’s Net Wherein Vairochana Buddha Explains for Bodhisattvas the Foundations of Training and the Precepts. Buddhist Writings, Shasta Abbey Press.

Most often the Buddha Dharma is approached via a bottom or side door and then the truth of it emerges in a less direct fashion. [Jade Mountains is an example.] Today the light of Buddha is shining directly in through the skylight, brilliant and awe inspiring. With all this awesome radiance even the innumerable devas felt apprehensive and all had misgivings [about grasping it’s profundity?]. With compassion for those present Shakyamuni Buddha asks Vairochana Buddha (Dharma Itself), on behalf of everybody present, to please explain in detail. Which is what happens.

Vairochana Buddha has the title – One Who Is the Source of the Luminosity