On the mountaintop, upon the altar of light he was born.
Others recognized him as the love he is and the love he came from.
In his innocence, others were able to see their own innocence again, and recall what truly matters. He was a precious child. Wherever he was, people wanted to hold him because he wasn’t heavy, he was light—because he was love. When people held him they held a holy reminder of the truth of what we are.
As time went by the boy grew into a young man. In his journey from infancy to being a young man, he encountered those who recognized him as the love he is. He also encountered others who saw him completely different than the love he is.
Those who couldn’t recognize him as the love he is gave him a bag to carry. He was instructed to use the bag in this manner: place everything you say, do, and think that is wrong in this bag and carry it.
Those who recognized him as the love he is also handed him a bag to carry with this instruction: place everything you say, do, and think that is right in this bag and carry it.
Accepting the bags and the instructions, he went on his life journey.
Every day, whether at work or play, either he or someone else placed something in each of his bags. Some days his bag of wrong was heavier than his bag of right; and other days his bag of right was much lighter than his bag of wrong.
He was strong, so he easily compensated from one side to the other to walk balanced and straight in public.
However, every evening in private he unpacked both bags before going to bed.
As he looked through his bag of wrong he cried and condemned himself; and as he looked through his bag of right he smiled, boasted and congratulated himself. Placing all of his rights and wrongs back in their appropriate bags he would sleep. Some nights when he forgot to place his wrongs in their appropriate bag, sleeping proved to be difficult.
Days passed, merging with weeks, blending to years, and accumulated to decades of the rights and wrongs he and others gave him to carry about himself.
He began to lose his balance, even in public.
Both bags were full and heavy, overflowing onto others in every interaction. Some moments his wrongs (along with the inferiority and condemnation that comes with that bag) spilled onto others. In other moments his rights (along with a sense of superiority and self-righteous indignation that comes with that bag) spilled onto others.
Weary, frustrated, and lost, he decided to return to the mountain where he was born in hopes of finding himself.
Hours after sunset, he finally made the seventeen inch journey from his head to his heart, and was once again upon the mountaintop where he was born.
He didn’t have to light a fire, because the star that never moves from that special place illuminated the entire area with its light. His grip loosened from the heavy bags of wrong and right as the memory of who he is ran through his tears, and spilled upon the altar of light where he was born. His tears reflected the light that has always shone brightly upon the altar of his heart, cleansing it, and revealing an inscription:
In this Holy instant
Of Light and Love you were born
and Light and Love you will always be
Place your bags of rights and wrongs on either side of me
Step back upon the altar where light never ceases
and allow the light of love to dissolve the useless pieces
Pieces of rights or wrongs hold not one glimpse of you
Step back upon this altar to remember all that’s true
You are not lost
You’ve just used your eyes to see,
only your bags of rights and wrongs,
exchanging Holy memory for misery
You’re not in either bag
and cannot be found in one or both
No matter if you hate yourself
Or use each day to boast
Beyond failures or successes
Past confidence or guesses
Afar from gracefulness or messes
Is your true reflection – Love
Of Light and Love you were born
And Light and Love you’ll always be
Throughout your life you may come here heavy
Yet in this holy instant you are free
this may be the finest hour of insight…..to witness the subtle transformation of becoming again and again….returning to our source of compassion…..surrendering to the heavy sky….
For the Zen Buddhist, an ethical precept is a question to be held up to the light of circumstance, an inquiry rather than an answer. And the nature of this inquiry is not so much the dubious enterprise of trying to figure out the right thing to do as it is an offering of an unaided heart. After all, it’s from this heart of ours that the precepts themselves once arose. At the threshold of choice, the Zen Buddhist trusts this ancient heart above all other authority.
As I see it, our collective future requires that we fashion an integral type of spirituality that can bridge the three domains of human life. This would entail embarking on a new trajectory. The spiritual quest, from ancient times to the present, has primarily moved along an ascending track: one that leads from darkness to light, from the conditioned to the unconditioned, from mortality to the deathless. Our task today, in my understanding, is to complement the ascending spiritual movement with a descending movement, a gesture of love and grace flowing down from the heights of realization into the valleys of our ordinary lives……Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi