Like the lotus in muddy water, our wish to be better people grows among our many worldly desires. Just look at the wanting itself. That is the gate. The desire for a more beautiful life is ancient and enduring. In medieval times it meant dressing in bright silks and having long and colorful processions; the desire was poured into objects, too into paintings and cathedrals with stained-glass windows. Inside the desire for a more beautiful life is the desire for a more beautiful character. We all have the urge to be better people, and behind all our self-improvement there is a profound impulse. Self-improvement is a gateway, the first step in a quest, a clue to a deeper life. The most beautiful form of the beautiful life is inner freedom the awakening taught in the ancient spiritual traditions. The spiritual path starts with a simple impulse like this. We can start anywhere, go through any gate. We begin by noticing, by becoming curious about reality. ‘What do I want?’ is a gate. That’s what a spiritual path is, a series of queries about reality. It’s not an admonition……..John Tarrant
we should not forget to trust in the world around us, in our own intuition and in the disciplines of practice and deep values…..this does not mean feeding our vanity and a new-age tendency toward pedantic ego-sliding….deep knowing is in the fragile bones and the delicate wings….deep knowing is the courage to peek up into the equally fragile night…..
Left to our own devices, many of us find that our spiritual practice doesn’t deepen. We try all kinds of things to wake ourselves up. Like dharma tourists, we chase after different spiritual teachers. We sit weekend retreats. We practice daily. We listen to CD’s and read books. We do cleanses and work with healers. Sometimes. when we are in the presence of a spiritual teacher, we may feel we understand the practice of meditation, but when we get home that understanding eludes us. In our culture, we have a certain affinity for doing things our own way and for doing things that have never been done before. This is just the sort of impractical attitude that can cause obstacles in our dharma practice, because if we were to follow methods other than those taught and practiced by the lineage holders, we would have no idea what the results of our practice would be. Whether we are on the path of sutra or tantra, we benefit from being certain of our practice, being certain of the instructions for our practice, and being certain of the way the practice should unfold when done correctly. When we’ve developed certainty, we become a practical practitioner, because we become mindful and cognizant of our entire experience and our progress on the path. Realization is only possible if it is based on both intellectual certainty and experiential certainty……Anyen Rinpoche
Brightly Colored Boats Upturned
on the Banks of the Charles…
What is there to say about them
that has not been said in the title?
I saw them near dawn from a glassy room
on the other side of that river,
which flowed from some hidden spring
to the sea; but that is getting away from
the brightly colored boats upturned
on the banks of the Charles,
the sleek racing sculls of a college crew team.
They were beautiful in the clear early light-
red, yellow, blue and green-
is all I wanted to say about them,
although for the rest of the day
I pictured a lighter version of myself
calling time through a little megaphone,
first to the months of the year,
then to the twelve apostles, all grimacing
as they leaned and pulled on the long wooden oars.