The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Vast Is The Robe of Liberation

Some mornings when I rise, I seem to be breathing fire from a deep deep hearth of embers.
Mistrust, separation, prickly pear, petty, judgmental, snarling, stuck in the liquid goo phase with no perceivable end in sight, I lumber about, at odds with my connections and fully alive to the ego's jangle.

Here I am, here I am, here I am, it loudly proclaims, and you are not, you are not, you are not!
(Stamp of foot!)
Yet, for all it's bluster and fire, the ego self begins to unravel.
I pour water for tea.
I pour fresh water for the indoor animals, fresh water for the outdoor animals.
I check the pond for any sign of my fish and notice fresh white blooms on the water hyesinthe, as others pucker and fade, and finally drop into the water.
There are two outdoor water bowls for the animals in this heat, and I like to empty the contents of one into the other, watching as the second bowl overflows: it always reminds me of the Master who kept pouring tea into the cup of his egotistical student, pouring as it overflowed and the student cried out, Stop, can't you see that the cup is full?!?
Master, still pouring, says, Can't you see that what is already full has no room to accept anything else? Empty yourself, and then come back....
(I paraphrase)

Some mornings the Robe of Liberation is so obviously Vast, I wonder how I've emptied over night: is it through the dream process that I awaken, solid and clear like a diamond?
Do I dream my way to freedom?
Where does the ego self dwell as I sleep?
The Child comes out to play: I make an ice slide and slide my cat down! A toddler with my name says she wants to come to the Party, and the True Self goes out to buy birthday trinkets. Someone, once again, stands over my bed....protective? Menacing? Neutral?
The dreaming child never discovers which it is, she wakes in terror!

Having time on my hands prompts an inward gaze.
There are fewer tasks that must be accomplished, no work to rush off to tackle for a little while, no house to clean or clothes to wash, no dinner to make and serve, no money to spend.
So a respite.
July is the month that I try to make my own, and even as I write this, I realize what an incredible luxury it is to even try!
I seem more lucky than I've ever been--luck or karma--Sensei, I hear you saying Karma!
Trying to open things up is a luxury, but it is also our birthright.
When he touched the Earth to bear witness to his awakening, the Buddha said, "I and all the Universe are awake!"

I will forever be in debt for this proclamation, for its generosity and true democracy, for its compassionate take on living.
What if the Buddha had said, I am Awake!
What if he had only said, I Am Awake?

As we practice, we are reminded in every breathe, "I and all the Universe are awake!"


Anonymous said...

Awake, alive, existing. Soon to end, like a cloud in the sky. Soon too will all suffering end. Maybe in 10,000 years or longer, but it will.
In the meantime, its' a good incarnation being human, with all its' facets of experience. How can we reject some, and accept others?

Brookie said...

Maybe it's the BEST incarnation, being human, because all facets of experience are there to be poured into the crucible and turned into gold, in the alchemy of awakening.
I easily repel some experiences and cling to others, and it's why I can be so ill at ease, why I suffer!
Beneath the Robe's Vastness, all experience is equally empty.