While clearing out the closet and bookshelf at home, I notice many Buddhist, self-awareness, and spiritual books accumulated over the years. Wow! How many times have I gone back to reread the treasure chest of wisdom already written? How often does the heart-mind feel unsettled, wondering who or what will bring me one step closer to nibanna (nirvana)?
An inquiry from a recent conversation with DoriMa returns. What if you never sat another retreat, listened to another Dhamma (Dharma) talk, or took another course? Would it be enough?
After completing 2 years of the DPP6 program through Spirit Rock, sadness and uncertainty continue the eulogy. Hey, wait a minute? Who died? I’m not ready to let go of the teachers, the ancestral altar, the Sangha, the family that was always temporary as all things are.
Post retreat, I feel shaky. A familiar voice and way of being shouts, restless and impatient. C’mon, search the internet for all possible retreats out there, Amazon for all those books, email for invitations to DPP6 Revival events!
And there is another energy emerging within, one that isn’t as familiar as fear and doubt. Remember your Buddha Nature, and reflect the Buddha Nature in others. Let go. Trust in the heart to hold this. This energy releases past karmic chords and locks the door to the future, imbuing the present moment with vivid clarity. Why would I choose to be anywhere else? This is the wisdom of no escape. This is the gift of faith.
I see the Paramis popping up like popcorn in loved ones at home, patients at work, even drivers who cut me off. When conversations and situations feel challenging, faith bridges the gap between suffering and joy (TDO). It expands awareness to include body, breath, others, and a radiant heart that has enough fuel to love what is. Not because what’s happening is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, but because there is a fullness of heart to meet it without needing things to be different.
This faith doesn’t pout like an impatient, bored child on a road trip inquiring several times if we are there yet. It’s the patient parent transforming the journey into an adventure, inviting the child into presence so many creative different ways.
I have no idea what the future will bring. Because tomorrow is never guaranteed, there is so much gratitude to the elements that have shaped this heart-mind over a lifetime (lifetimes if you believe in kamma, karma). Whether I read this book, do that retreat, join a particular group, or class, I know a seed was planted long ago. She is 46 (or 46,000) years old. Maybe her rate of growth was never dependent on perfect conditions - high quality nutrients, fertile soil, an ideal balance of rain and sun, or expert arborists.
Maybe all she ever needed was faith.