Wheat Field With Crows, Vincent Van Gogh, painted weeks before his death
The days leading up to Segaki and the Liturgy of Reconciliation and Forgiveness are ones of deep introspection and frequently deep insight. We rededicate our efforts to being clear, to awakening to all we are, the good, the bad and the ugly, and compassionately integrating our aggregates to restore the roots of our awareness in Buddha Nature.
Buddha Nature, unborn, undying, the Ground of our Being, never leaving us, always the very support and nurturance we attempt to find outside ourselves--it is right here and we are it, no separation, no gap.
I can always rely on the ordinary daily experiences of my living to provide all the material I need for awakening. There is no need to go any further than my moment to moment experience, in deep
"here-ness", regardless of how my conditioned self would like to flee, attach, deflate or break down.
So it comes as no surprise that the past two weeks have presented all sorts of Gakis rising before me, demanding that they be seen and honored, without judgement, a radical acceptance of past Karma and a place to say, finally, yes, "I take full responsibility for myself and all of my actions"*.
Reconsiliation comes with forgiveness; forgiveness first of one's self, and then of others.
During these times too, the dreamscape provides rich ground for the unconscious to present whatever we have so diligently stuffed into a dark corner.
One of last night's dreams included a brand new house that I had just moved into, with big, empty, spacious rooms. There was great serenity walking through these rooms, but when I left them, I was menaced repeatedly by some unidentified person.
Finally, I confronted this person and wrestled him to the ground, where he was transformed beneath my resolve into a fearful, shaking, pathetic creature, a Gaki.
We both knew it was the end of his hold on me and he cowered, covering his face, even as I recognized that we had bought the new house together! I was flooded with compassion at this recognition.
"I love you!" I yelled, "But I'm calling it quits!"
My heart was in tatters, but I was still whole.
I thought, "What will I do with this new house we bought together?"
The answer came without any doubt.
"I'll get roommates and share it."
So Gakis lead us to practice, and when we have outgrown them, we release and wake up, still honoring the essential role of suffering. In fact, recognizing that awakening and suffering are one and the same!
In the new house there are no dichotomies!
*from The Precepts for the Community of the Vow, The Book of Common Meditation, Blue Mountain Lotus Society