The sky is heavy and grey with cloud, which is interesting as we’re in the middle phase of the retreat and it can be a time when people can hit more resistance, so it’s as if the sky is reflecting that back to us after the bright clear skies of yesterday.
The thankha of four-armed Avalokitesvara, hanging above the shrine, is reflecting back a different perspective and Ratnavandana drew this out in the readings in last night’s puja.
What I love most about this image is the stillness. Although it is an image of Compassion, its perfect symmetry communicates the balance and stillness of the wisdom that lies behind that compassion. Avalokitesvara sees everything - the impermanence, the pain, the joy, the grief - he doesn’t turn away but continues to look:
‘O you, whose eyes are clear, whose eyes are friendly, Whose eyes betray distinguished wisdom-knowledge; Whose eyes are compassionate, whose eyes are pure, O you, so lovable, with beautiful face, with beautiful eyes!
~ (Saddharmapundarika XX1V)
This morning, at 11am, I’ll be talking about doing Tonglen for others. Relationship - it’s a place where ‘self’ shows up quite strongly. Often the texture of our relationships is the texture of polarisation, and it is this polarisation that we need to breathe in. We resist it, of course, but if we can really allow ourselves contact with it, then it can be transformed – new life can be exhaled.