The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ordinary Life

Tea Garden, San Francisco, CA, 2010, With Mini

Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course.
Then your mind will become still in any surroundings,
like a clear forest pool.
All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool,
and you will clearly see the nature of all things.
You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go,
but you will be still.
This is the happiness of the Buddha.

--from A Still Forest Pool, by Ajahn Chah

I recall the day my daughter and I visited the Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park; it was cold and windy, and our hands were numbed even as we stuffed them into our pockets, meandering through the Garden, delighting in each turn, where beautifully arranged eco systems flourished to please the eye and spirit. We drank in our surroundings, and finally had to stop in the Tea House for something hot and salty-sweet.
We took a corner table beside the little Tea House, and watched as a very determined squirrel tried over and over again to get into the hut, where it might perch on the counter and eat from the bowls of salty treats that accompany tea.
But the tea servers had erected a plexiglass boundary to deter the squirrels; unobtrusive to humans, a jungle gym for animals.
We watched a tiny bird flit onto the counter, select a rice cracker and dart away.
Meanwhile, the squirrel continued to slide off the plexiglass, those treats so close yet so far away!
It gave up for a moment and came closer on the stonewall to watch us, standing comically as if getting ready to Gassho.
Truly, if it had, we would have bowed back and offered our entire bowl.
The tea cups in our hands were so satisfying to hold, to keep the damp cold away.
We drank two pots!
We left a large tip for the tea servers, and then we scattered our leftover treats into the grass, a little wayward offering, marveling at the simple pleasure of hot tea outdoors, on a cold, windy afternoon.
Bellies warmed, spirits warmed.

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