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Thursday, October 04, 2001

The Sacred Path of the Warrior

First off, the warrior I am talking about here is the Spiritual warrior, which has nothing to do with making war on others nor on yourself. (See last week's note regarding this.) Aggression is the source of our problems, and it can therefore never be the solution. When the Spiritual Warrior is talked about, we are talking about the being who is not afraid of who she/he is and is one who refuses to give up on himself or herself.

As Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche wrote, "The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything." This means we are not allowed the "luxury," which is nothing but the laxity, of saying we are simply falling to pieces or that anyone else is, and we cannot say this about the world either.

So it seems like we're all going to hell in a handbasket? "What is there that I can do right now?" is the question asked by the warrior. This is her koan. To fill your heart with anxiety of what seems to be happening or what may happen is to back away from your appointment with the present moment. A little of "Bodhidharma Spirit" is what is needed. "Fall 7 times; get up eight times. Fall 100 times; get up 101 times. Fall 1000 times; get up 1001 times." There is always the one time and only the one time. "Just here, Just Now, Just This," my Zen Teacher reminds me. "Dwelling in the Present Moment, I know that it is the Only Moment," is a gatha taught by Thich Nhat Hanh.

And when we practice like this we see for ourselves that no matter what is happening, there is always an element of goodness to be found, to be experienced. This basic goodness is too easily forgotten because we grow numb to it through overstimulation and forgetfulness. Trungpa Rinpoche's teachings about "Basic Goodness" are among the most beautiful I have heard. "When we see a bright color, we are witnessing our own inherent goodness. When we hear a beautiful sound, we are hearing our own basic goodness. When we step out of the shower, we feel fresh and clean, and when we walk out of a stuffy room, we appreciate the sudden whiff of fresh air. These events may take a fraction of a second, but they are real experiences of goodness. They happen to us all the time, but usually we ignore them as mundane or purely coincidental....however, it is worthwhile to recognize and take advantage of those moments, because they are revealing basic nonaggression and freshness in our lives -- basic goodness."

These moments are indeed always available if we are mindful. A survivor of the attacks on the Twin Towers remarked to me how vivid and blue the sky was. "It was beautiful." And people were dying. This is how life is. And the "sin" was that he felt a bit guilty telling me that he had noticed the beauty of the sky in such a situation. Experiencing basic goodness can only make one feel guilty if one is rejecting his experience, and is therefore being aggresive against himself, against reality. So while the path of dharma starts with the awareness of suffering, suffering is not enough. We can open to basic goodness right here where we are. And let go of the tendency to try to calcify this (or any experience) and learn to touch goodness with a light, loving touch.

Breathing

Breathing in, I see myself as a flower,
I am the freshness of a dewdrop.
Breathing out, my eyes have become flowers.
Please look at me.
I am looking with the eyes of love.

Breathing in, I am a mountain,
imperturbable, still, alive, vigorous.
Breating out, I feel solid.
The waves of emotion
can never carry me away.

Breathing in, I am still water.
I reflect the sky faithfully.
Look, I have a full moon
within my heart,
the refreshing moon of the bodhisattva.
Breathing out, I offer the perfect reflection
of my mirror-mind.

Breathing in,
I have become space without boundaries.
I have no plans left.
I ahve no luggage.
Breating out, I am the moon
that is sailing through the sky of utmost emptiness.
I am freedom.
--- Thich Nhat Hanh

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.: posted by Poep Sa Frank Jude 7:48 PM


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