Friday, April 22, 2011

Reflections: The Four Vows, A Poem, and The Green Tara Mantra

Today is Earth Day, a weekend of religious holiday, and April 22, 2011. Of this much I am certain.

As far as the rest, I recognize that I'm am often desperately trying to connect dots to make sense of a life that probably can't be made sense of. I go in circles. I misunderstand what people are trying to tell me, so that in spite of my best intentions, I make mistakes. A fun analogy might be the game of Twister I sometimes played as a little girl. I end up being so contorted I fall over. In Twister we used fall over, giggle and/or laugh. In life, it is typically frustrating.

All of a sudden kinhin makes sense to me in a way it has not made sense before. We are walking in circles, just like Muho-san said. In kinhin, walking in a circle is accepted, appropriate and, in fact, required. During kinhin, we are mindful of our posture, each step and the movement of fellow practioners. There is a quiet peacefulness or stillness during kinhin given that we accept that we are not going anywhere.

These are the Four Vows:

Beings are numberless; I vow to free them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.
The buddha way is unsurpassable; I vow to realize it.

Look again and dig way down into the ground of them.

It's real simple when I get down into them. I look at these vows and just accept they are impossible, just accept that I am going fail. That I am not going to get anywhere, just like during kinhin. That I am going to fall over just like in Twister.

What remains when I accept that I am going to fall and fail? I realize my truth, and that truth is I am still going to try anyway. That I have committed myself and that, for me, there's is no way of backing out of the commitment. This is what a vow is. And out of the acceptance of failure and the recognition of that truth, unconditional confidence arises, blooms, and shines forth like the sun.

From this state, all things are possible — even success. Then I take another step.....

And another circle or cycle begins. But today, April 22, 2011, I am out finding Kwon Homun:

Two Poems On Fishing - Kwon Homun

Should I go drinking and wenching?
Oh, no. It isn't proper for the poet that I am.
Shall I go hunting wealth and honor?
I am not inclined that way either.
Well, let me be a fisherman or shepherd
and enjoy myself on the reedy shore.

When it stops raining at the fishing site
I will use green-moss for bait.
With no idea of catching the fish
I will enjoy watching them at play.
A slice of moon passes as it casts a silver line
onto the green stream below.

(This today's poetry selection on the Knopf website.)

Green Tara Mantra:

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