Understanding Gratitude

Here is a link to a post on the Throssel blog, published today titled Gratitude – Loud and Ordinary. The following is from the Shushogi, ‘what is truly meant by training and enlightenment’. This is from chapter five. Many of you will be familiar with this text but thought it worth putting up the whole section rather than just a few lines which you will find in the post on the Throssel blog.

Putting the Teachings into Practice and Showing Gratitude.
The Buddha Nature should be thus simply awakened in all living things within this world for their desire to be born here in has been fulfilled: as this is so, why should they not be grateful to Shakyamuni Buddha? If the Truth had not spread throughout the entire world it would have been impossible for us to have found it, even should we have been willing to give our very lives for it: we should think deeply upon this: how fortunate have we been to be born now when it is possible to see the Truth. Remember the Buddha’s words, “When you meet a ZenMaster who teaches the Truth do not consider his caste, his appearance, shortcomings or behaviour. Bow before him out of respect for his great wisdom and do nothing whatsoever to worry him.”Because of consideration for others on the part of the buddhas and Ancestors, we are enabled to see the Buddhaeven now and hear His teachings: had the Buddhas and ancestors not truly Transmitted the Truth it could never have been heard at this particular time: even only so much as a short phrase or section of the teaching should be deeply appreciated. What alternative have we but to be utterly grateful for the great compassion exhibited in this highest of all teachings which is the very eye and treasury of the truth? The sick sparrow never forgot the kindness shown to it, rewarding it with the ring belonging to the three great ministers, and the unfortunate tortoise remembered too, showing its gratitude with the seal of Yofu: if animals can show gratitude surely man can do the same?

Walking, Talking, Lockdown Wisdom

I do love these audio recordings by Julius Welby, they are delightfully and kinda quirky. He is a practitioner in this tradition and offers reflections on life, life ‘right now’ while walking in a nature reserve close to his home, birds are doing their thing in the background, while he talks away conversational style. It is engaging not so much for the content, although that’s interesting, more for the spontaneous expression and kind friendlessness – rather like taking a walk with a friend. Remotely.

There is creativity in the audio with multiple overlapping recordings telling of a mind, our minds and how they run on multiple channels, all at once. And then all goes still, he sits on a bench and in my mind’s eye I’m looking out over the lake with him. Nothing earth-shattering just simple, yet profound pondering pointing towards humility. In there too I feel there is, ‘I could be wrong, take it or leave it’.

Well, that’s a longer review than I’d intended!

Scrolling down the page of this microblogs there are photographs too.

Time Structuring – Time for Rest and Renewal

The clouds have been amazing these past few days. Yesterday I ventured out for a longer walk than is usual for me on Renewal Days. Arriving at the top of the ridge opposite the monastery the Skylarks were singing their hearts out. Their song is not so clear on this short video clip unfortunately but thought to share this with you. To share in the delight I felt at being on the moors once again.

As most of you are aware the monastic schedule allows for rest/renewal time within each week. Monday sees us formally sitting at 7.15 with a Brunch at 9.45, Snack at 1.30 and Medicine Meal at the usual time of 6.00. Each of us may choose to sit informally in the evening or read or rest. There is ample time in the day to catch up on necessary personal projects such as; robe mending, ironing, laundering vestments or simply taking a longer walk, etc. As I did yesterday. Thursday afternoons are set aside similarly for rest/renewal activities.

During these days of ‘lock-down’, I’d imagine one day wafts or drags into the next with nothing much to mark the days of the week. I know some people are using the video of Short Morning Service to mark the start of their day of practice. Others who may not follow or practice Buddhism may have established a meaningful routine of their own. Pacing one’s day and weeks can be a real saving grace and helps many a person to keep out of anxious states and falling into depressions. At the moment I’d not underestimate how easy it can be to succumb. Personally I am so grateful for the monastic schedule but each reader will find their own, meaningful way to structure your time.

Gathering – Breaking Up

Worldly ups and downs
should be treated
as lightly as the clouds
gathering and breaking up.


All Things/Beings Transmit The Truth

This is an offering of merit post, for Rev. Master Teigan who died yesterday. Some readers will remember him, as I do, as a kind and benevolent soul. A true bass singer that had the floor vibrating under one’s feet! And for our earth. Mugo

The lovely, late, Emily Levine reads ON THE FIFTH DAY by Jane Hirshfield

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.

The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.

Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.

The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.

Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,

while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.

The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.

In gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.

Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.

They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.