What an imposing presence these Teasels have, growing taller and taller, waving in the wind, the prickly flowering, heads light purple. Each day as I pass the garden I glance over and see them waving – masterfully erect.
This post is for all those, including myself very occasionally, for whom ‘waving in the wind’ can mean: feeling dizzy, light headed, unsteady, vertiginous. Such conditions for most come and go for others, not so. NOT SO AT ALL. All the same those so long term affected go on, perhaps in a completely different looking life, to have an imposing presence in the world. Masterfully erect.
You know who you are.
A boundless host of enligtening beings, the congregation at the site of enlightenment, were all gathered there; by means of the ability to manifest the lights and inconceivable sounds of the Buddhas, they fashioned nets of the finest jewels, from which came forth all the realms of action of the spiritual powers of the Buddhas, and in which were reflected images of the abodes of all beings.
Also, by virtue of the aid of the spiritual powers of the Buddha, they embraced the entire cosmos in a single thought.
Their lion seats were high, wide, and beautiful. The bases were made of jewels, their nets of lotus blossoms, their tableaus of pure, exquisite gemstones. They were adorned with various flowers of all colours. Their roofs, chambers, steps, and doors were adorned by the images of all things. The branches and fruits of jewel trees surrounded them, arrayed at intervals.
Avatamsaka Sutra. Taken from the first chapter.
For those who do not have a stable ‘abode’. It may be humble, it might be compromised (our psycho/physical abode), it could look like nothing very much at all from the outside. From the inside, though?
Circumambulation (from Latin circum around, and ambulãtus to walk) is the act of moving around a sacred object or idol. Wikipedia
At Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, during a festival ceremony, all present have the chance to circumambulate the hall and offer incense at the main altar. It is a spiritual practice in many traditions – to walk in a clockwise circle around a stupa or a Buddha or Bodhisattva statue. There is merit, spiritual merit, generated through this circling, honouring, blessing, walking meditation.
Once, years ago, at a ceremony to install a statue in a ‘Buddha Garden’ in an open prison, I remember being given a flower, some incense and a candle to carry while we walked and chanted. We circumambulated three times, which is also traditional.
There is a long distance path looping around Throssel called Isaac’s Tea Trail. Here below is an interview with the chap, Roger Morris, who thought of and developed this trail. The interview by Anne Leuchars is to both publicize and commemorate the 21st anniversary of the trail’s opening. I am glad to say I’ve walked a few sections of the 37-mile path, at least once with Roger and Anne, and with several other monks and lay sangha. It passes through wonderfully varied countryside, full of history, and empty, for the most part, of other walkers. Where else do you find that?
Well actually, once a year the trail is filled with runners and fast walkers, covering the whole length of the path in a day. That’s not for everyone however, but if you are in the area it is worth spending time on some part of the trail. In spirit at least you will be circumambulating the monastery, as Throssel at directly in the centre of the loop. Walking manageable segments is the best way. Carrying a flower, incense and a candle is probably not a good idea though! And walking around it three times? Probably not!
Anne writes a blog Walking Isaacs Tea Trail where if you take a careful look you will see a post about…walking as a religious practice.
On a personal note, Anne is my hero, for several reasons, one being her skill at interviewing. Something I’d aspire to do in…the future. Also she is a great walking companion because she doesn’t race ahead of the ‘pack’. We have ambled together, gladly.
The ultimate aim of the poet should be to touch our hearts by showing their own, and not to exhibit their learning, or fine taste, or skill in mimicking the notes of their predecessors.
Leslie Stephen Father of Virginia Woolf
what is it
who is it
that write it down?
will ever be enough
Note: I have been away; from writing here, and away from Throssel too. Contemplating all the while all that manifests within and behind ‘validation’ (and the seeming lack of it). And then following on, the matter of ‘self-confidence’ (and the seeming lack of it). Sometimes confidence can drop through the floor when ‘self’ becomes thin (or simply tired out)!
So, I am taking my own words, above, to heart. I’ll JUST WRITE. And allow the ‘heart’ of the universe, to take care of the rest.
Merit for all those who find themselves in extremity where all seems lost, lost sight of. A time to JUST SIT. Allow the ‘universe without edges’ to manifest in your being. The ‘ever present’ is ever present.