The Luminous: Blazing in the Fires of Sunyata

On Thu, 15 June, 2017 - 23:46
akasajoti's picture

There has been so much beauty today that I can’t do justice to, and wish I could. Such a high quality of communication between us all in our last discussion group, sensitive, alive and mirror-like to one another; sitting in our closing circle this evening, hearing each person rejoice and share what they had enjoyed and benefitted from during the retreat; the final Bodhicitta mantra in perfect harmony. A lotus-bed of many beings growing towards the light in our own way. Faith in the Order, Faith in the Three Jewels.

Lokeshvara in his presentation this morning spoke of the culmination of metta in Equanimity, and described two ways of seeing Upekkha – as the outward radiation of goodwill that makes no distinction between living beings; and as the inner attitude of complete equanimity as life flows in, the attitude when abandoning the welcoming and rebelling of the worldly winds.

He went on to express very personally, and insightfully, his own practice of developing this second aspect of equanimity, as a practice of ‘willingly inviting ruin”, referring to this poem by Izumi Shikibu, and a commentary by Jane Hirschfield:

It is true
the wind blows terribly here
but moonlight
also leaks between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Shikibu’s poem reminds it’s readers that beauty, and also the Buddhist awakening frequently signalled by moonlight will come to a person only if the full range of events and feelings are allowed into his or her life. Real permeability cannot be provisional. It is impossible to know what will enter if the house of the solidified and defended self is breached, and ruin is not a condition any person willingly seeks. Still, those gaps in the roof planks - not the assigned doors, the expected windows - are the opening through which the luminous arrives”
– Jane Hirschfield

Lokeshvara is true exemplar of this practice – I see him expressing care, curiosity and empathy to whatever arises, and to whoever he encounters; faithfully practising metta and attending to working with his own mind; sharing his experience and life openly and generously; holding responsibility with integrity while giving up all status and being willing to go forth; and deeply cherishing while holding loosely that which he loves and values in the Order.

In the Bodhicitta practice this afternoon, I sat encased by self-concern and pride, inside a closed lotus-bud. In the culmination of the practice, all the shadow of the world is supposed to dissolve, and moonlight radiate across the universe - but within my lotus, the moonbeams couldn’t break out beyond the closed petals. And then I noticed, there was a light coming through from outside, shining through the thin gaps between the petals. It was radiating from the other beings in the shrine room, my dharma-sisters and -brothers, and permeating the closed lotus bud. As I became aware of the moonlight leaking between the petals, I felt a deep gratitude for a community of luminous beings in which I am the recipient of the love and light in which I can mature and transform.

Oṃ Bodhicittam Utpādayāmi

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