Sitting Still in the Midst of Conditions

A line within one of our scriptures goes, “May we within the temple of our own hearts dwell, within the myriad mountains”. I needed to be mindful of that interjection of faith and intent last Sunday afternoon. For sure.

I’d been invited to visit a family outside of Edmonton so the children could ask me questions about Buddhism. “To interrogate me”, as I put it to the mother on the telephone! There they were five of them, two families worth, sprinkled across the living room carpet sitting crossed legged ready and eager.

Thankfully, just as I was leaving the priory, I’d plucked up a few bits and pieces as ‘show and tell’ items. A bell, some incense, lotus blossom stickers, a rosary and a triptych traditionally carried by people in the east when on pilgrimage to a holy site. (no time left to photograph that, perhaps tomorrow.)

Our conversation, come Dharma talk, come meditation period, come ‘entertainment’ ranged and rolled along in a way I rarely encounter with adults. With the children’s attentiveness, which was not 100% of course, and their bright willingness to both listen and ask questions inspired words and insights to flow in a most satisfying way. This is the best of teaching when what needs to be said, and can be heard, arises without filtering through the brain so much. Wonderful.

What a gift these children were. There were the myriad mountains shifting and wriggling, twisting and turning, and in the midst of all that to be able to talk about Buddhism in a serious minded way. And for the flexible mountains, on some level, to absorb truths beyond words and religious traditions. Sitting still is not conditional on external appearances of ‘stillness’.

I’m just so grateful for such opportunities, to visit outside of my usual circle. When ‘the temple’ can enter a living room, in a small homestead, beside a busy highway that ribbons East across the Alberta prairie. For me it is a rare opportunity to have a window on the lives of regular folks who in turn want to have a window on a different faith tradition, as seen through my eyes.

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One thought on “Sitting Still in the Midst of Conditions”

  1. Dear Rev Mugo,
    I was struck by your Blog about the children. There is something enchanting about the untethered enthusiasm and excitement children display at new ideas.

    When teaching in schools, I try to allow the excitement to run unhindered, while at the same time knowing that there will soon come a point when the work required to improve and grow will push some away. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that those who give-up have still, hopefully, gained something from the experience. It’s not my job to predict which seeds will germinate, or when, just to keep planting as best I can.

    Teaching children opens up endless opportunities for learning, not least, that the effort a teacher makes, must always be made unconditionally.

    Thank you for keeping on with the Blog.

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