Category Archives: Teachings

Tigers and Dragons?

white-tiger-origarmi
Credit for this gem goes to Mr Jeremy Shafer, instructions here…

The highest mountains are the abode of the lions;
In the deepest waters the dragons dwell.

This quote is used in Lions Gate Buddhist Priory website banner.

I once told Rev. Master Jiyu I’d spent some time sitting on top of a Tor on Dartmoor, in the South West of England, while over visiting my parents. She responded in a low voice, You like high places don’t you Mugo. I smiled in recognition.

In one of our scripturesit’s written: If you become thus utterly free you will be as the water wherein the dragon dwells or as the mountain whereon the tiger roams.

The Dragon, our fundamental nature is represented, and known within our ‘depths’. The Tiger, our embodied nature as enlightened beings (Buddha Nature) roams freely and is given expression through our daily actions.  Informed by our personal moral and ethical intent, obviously.

Tiger is fierce
moving gracefully aware
appropriate to circumstances

The Dragon fierce
rises up within faith
unites with the Tiger.

Bam!

In a different scripture: O sincere trainees, do not doubt the true dragon, do not spend so much time in rubbing only a part of the elephant. Not doubting, engendering faith. While embodying the ‘dragon’ reflexive action, is our lived life.

NOTE:This quote is also pointing to the importance of not dwell mentally and emotionally, overly long, anywhere. And especially not dwelling in uncomfortable ‘places’. Or comfortable places either!

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Abhayamudra – Fearlessness and Resolve

altar_buddha
Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey statue, made by one of the monks, showing the Abhayamudra. The left hand is in the meditation mudra. Notice the open palms…

I’ve been thinking about resistance and resolve and how they can and do come together in action. Contemplating how these two qualities/attitudes come together and manifest for good or ill. The key to the outcome of actions taken, with resistance and resolve, is the intent of the person(s) so manifesting.

Which has brought me to the mudra Abhayamudra.

The Abhaya mudra is a gesture of fearlessness and protection (also a blessing gesture). The right hand is positioned at chest level, with the elbow bent. The palm is open and facing outwards with fingers and thumb directed upwards.  In images of the Buddha, the left hand is in the meditation (dhyana) mudra. When depicted standing the left arm depends from the shoulder with the palm open and the fingers pointing towards the earth. This is but one variation, there are others.

This mudra is not just for statues by the way. I’ll fill in some details another time…

On a personal note: I am strong enough in myself to tackle my food intake! That takes resistance and resolve! And thank you to all those who have been concerned about my health, my arm and shoulder specifically and for those who have given support with dana too. Getting better and I know it will be months before things ‘settle down’. In the meantime I am getting on with my days, best I can. Merit to all those who suffer chronic or acute pain and discomfort.

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Personal Reflections and Insights on Acceptance

Following on with the theme of radical acceptance Dew on The Grass blog is currently posting on the theme of Acceptance.
What can I say? Take some time to read these articles, benefit from the insights and truths so clearly and tenderly expressed. I have.

I step into the water. The riverbed slopes gently and I walk forward, slowly and deliberately, into the deeper water. At waist level, I pause, giving my body time to adjust. I have to remember to put my hands into the water. My instinct is to hold them high. I bend my knees and the water rises inch by inch up to my shoulders. The trick is to do everything gradually.
Winter Wild Swimming by Chris Yoemans

Acceptance’, it turns out, is a trigger word for me, bringing with it some strong emotions, which have made writing this blog difficult, despite several attempts to do so.

Mostly, it has brought into sharp focus, remnants of non-acceptance and feelings of grief, through remembrances of the breakup of my parent’s marriage, some sixty years ago, and also the feelings of loss that I feel for my own marriage, not through abandonment, but through the illness and decline of a spouse.
Coming to Rest by Karen Richards

Looking up the etymology of the word “acceptance”, amongst the definitions I found, what stuck out for me was: to get without effort, to assent to the reality of a situation.
Some years ago I wrote an article called “Dealings with Pain” on dealing with excessive physical pain. The article is in fact about the process of how to assent to the reality of a situation. The keyword here is, I think, “reality”.
When we find ourselves in a situation that feels unbearable, unacceptable, we feel that we, that is “I”, the self, is in that situation and limited by it. That is a very narrow perspective of reality, of the self, a belief that warrants closer examination.
On Acceptance by Anna Aysea

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The Light in Your Eyes

DIRGE WITHOUT MUSIC
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

This is a poem that reaches to the core isn’t it? Of love. Of loss. Of recognition? Of that which doesn’t die, the light in your eye. Even unto physical death. Is not approving, not resigned to death of a loved one, an expression of non-acceptance? Or is it…radical acceptance. Acceptance of the complexity of life and death, of love and all the thoughts and emotions we can manifest?

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Second Self?

mini-ponyBelow is a poem, titled Freedom, by Simon Fletcher. It touched a spot for a Jade reader, and for me too.

Freedom

I stroll up to the branching waterfall;
work done, I need fresh air and to be free.

It takes so long to find one’s second self,
it seems, and there you are, a friend and free

of negatives, who tops me up on tap.
Your love’s an ancient waterfall, a free

resource of life that brings me to my senses,
always there, flows from the hills, the free

and purple-hearted mountains, deep in clouds,
where ponies, wilder creatures wander free.

I tumble in your love and, smiling, know
you’ve given me permission to be free.
Simon Fletcher

Yes, it does seem on a certain level that the deepest part of ourselves, when ‘touched’, feels other. So unlike myself, one may think. Another case of attempting to refrain from slapping labels onto experience.

Update:
This morning the sun is shining, pain levels are less and that’s a good thing. Thanks to all who have wished me well this past (two) months. Help has come my way in many forms – and I’m so grateful. Tomorrow is, however, another day….

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