An article in The Buddha Diaries titled Blessing caught my eye this morning. The author is asking about a Buddhist baby blessing/naming ceremony for his grandchild. He then goes on to contemplate, it would seem to me, the matter of spiritual authority. How does it go, By the authority vested in me I declare you….etc. etc. This whole matter of ceremonial, it’s significance to us, who is empowered to celebrate them and…who isn’t! And why. So much surrounds this business doesn’t it. Here is the last paragraph of the article:-
It occurs to me sometimes, without arrogance I hope, that I might now myself be empowered to pass on that blessing from my father, with the intention described yesterday by Than Geoff. It need not be with the ritual “laying on of hands,” but can be practiced silently, without the ritual. It’s more of a thought, an energy, and in fact I experience it every day in the practice of metta, as a prelude to meditation. But here’s the odd thing: the ritual does speak to me, alluringly, at some deep level of my being. When I find myself thinking about it, I actually feel a tingle in my hands that seems to want release… But then I accuse myself of presumption, and quickly back away. I still await the opportunity to overcome my reserve.
My teacher would use the term sanctifying the mundane. I took this to mean we can engage with existence in such a way that we encounter a depth or sanctity to all that we touch, see, hear, smell, taste and know. And this comes about as a consequence of finding that depth or sanctity within ourselves and at the same time (ah hem) not getting over large in our own heads! Humility and self reflection keep us safe.
The only way forward, it seems to me, is to walk on and regard all one encounters with reverence and respect. Which includes that which we call myself. As for the question of spiritual authority. You could call that the light of the Buddha which shines through us without questioning where or what it illuminates. Hands are blessed gifts, hands being our main instrument for making contact with that which we call not myself. No wonder they tingle!