Light goes with darkness as the sequence does of steps in  walking.

At the end of the first meditation period of the day a drum is struck seven times, symbolizing the coming of the seven *six Buddhas before the historic Buddha, Shakyamuni. We use a bass drum mounted on a stand. Depending on how and where on the surface of the drum it is struck the sound is anything from a resounding CRASH to a mild thump. The intention is for a deep resonating sound, neither too loud nor too soft. Yesterday, more of a crash! It happens.

And so it is with us. Actions, including speech are, at times, harsh and jarring, at other times filled with compassion and gentleness. Resonating deeply in minds and hearts. It is all too easy however to label a person ‘harsh’ or ‘compassionate’ and evaluate that person accordingly good or bad, nice or nasty on the basis of their actions. Or the quality of their actions.

Is this right though? However human it may be to judge in this way I’d be rather sad if, for example, what I said or did even years ago had me for ever cast as a ‘nasty person’. The act may not have been out of the top drawer, raising my voice for example, but does that make me a nasty person, an unkind person? Is it possible to see the person apart from their actions? At least as a starting point for exercising kindness and compassion.

In ‘darkness’, when separate features do not stand out, is used in our end of Buddhism to mean emptiness and ‘light’ to mean multiplicity. You could say also; one and different, empty and full.  The two seeming opposites fit together, are together ‘as a box all with it’s lid’, to quote from one of our scriptures.

What this means to me at least is, wether or not we beat the drum with a crash, a subtle tap, or an unthoughtful wallop there is a leap of faith needed. Faith that takes one past the reasonable and the reasoned, the right and the wrong, while at the same time acting or not acting – what ever is called for. This is the koan of daily life arising naturally. This is not easy. Nothing and nobody is ever all light or all dark although we can forgive ourselves for believing this to be so!

Thanks to Mark for the photograph. The Alhambra in Spain, I think?

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8 thoughts on “CRASH!”

  1. Thank you for this. I too hope that I have not been pidgeonholed as ‘bad’ (though undoubtedly I have been) or as ‘good’ either.

    I always wondered why 7 strikes on the drum.

    1. One can’t do much about how others label us however just sometimes it is good to ‘put the record straight’. The greater problem spiritually is of course the habit, and perhaps human need, to label ourselves. This can be subtle. Being nobody, so to speak, asks everything of us.

      it is actually 6 Buddhas with Shakyamuni being the seventh. To my way of thinking the 6 Buddhas point out that the historic Buddha didn’t ‘invent’ Buddhism. Who knows how many ‘Buddha’s there were before Shakyamuni.

      You enjoy the Canadian winter, and take care too.

  2. “All light” would be just as incomplete an understanding as “all dark.” Not two, not one. Inseparable, yet discernible — “as a box all with its lid.”

    1. Did you ever hear Rev. Master talk about ‘seeing with one eye’? Meaning trying to conceive of existence as all one, or all different: or as you put it all light or all dark.

      1. I don’t recall hearing her talk about that… though I seem to remember most everything she has ever said quite clearly!

  3. Yes – this photo was taken in the Nasrid Palaces, in the Alhambra, Granada. It includes the type of hanging plasterwork ‘stalactites’ known as ‘muqarna’ in Arabic.

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