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Posts Tagged ‘perfection’

BOxherding_pictures,_No._10arefooted and naked of breast,
I mingle with the people
of the world.
My clothes are ragged and dust-laden,
and I am ever blissful.
use no magic to extend my life;
Now, before me, the dead trees
become alive.
I have abandoned the whip and ropes

 Finally, the tenth picture shows the enlightened oxherd entering the town marketplace, doing all of the ordinary things that everyone else does. But because of his deep awareness everything he does is quite extraordinary. He does not retreat from the world, but shares his enlightened existence with everyone around him. Not only does he lead fishmongers and innkeepers in the way of the Buddha but, because of his creative energy and the radiance of his life, even withered trees bloom. [1]

I love Suzuki’s title for this picture “entering the city with bliss-bestowing hands.” Every one of us can have hands that help or hinder. We can bless someone with a kind touch on the shoulder, or by the shake of a hand, or a pat on the back in their time of need. Or we can hinder them with a negative hand gesture (I’m sure you can think of some on your own), a shove, or a slap. Your hands can hold a crying newborn to sooth it’s trauma, comfort a patient in a hospice bed, or wash a baby duck covered in oil from an off-shore drilling site disaster.

Hands are powerful tools that we are given and sometimes they can seem as though they are making magic.  I like to watch the talent shows like America’s Got Talent and the most amazing people to me are the magicians.  What they can do with their hands is mind boggling!  Watching someone plant flowers in a garden, or paint a picture, or cut your hair is amazing to me.  The craft, the talent, and the finesse that your hands have to make something out of almost nothing is incredible.

Your creative energy can come out in many ways.  I hope that you are looking for those ways and perfecting them, and sharing them with others.  We don’t have to be a so called “enlightened being” like the oxherder to do great things with our hands.  We simply need to care enough, desire it enough, and be willing enough to put the time and energy in to it to find and develop that creativity, love, and perfection within us.

I love how Koeller talks about the “radiance of his life, even withered trees bloom.”  I don’t expect to make withered flowers bloom today with the touch of my hands that’s for sure. But I can pick the weeds from my garden or comfort a soul in need with them and for me that’s the “radiance of life” –doing the extraordinary in an ordinary way.  What is yours?

[1] http://www.columbia.edu/cu/weai/exeas/resources/pdf/oxherding.pdf

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John Daido Loori has written the most wonderful book on Teachings of the Earth: Zen and the Environment.  I am sharing with you two paragraphs from it on this Earth Day 2015.  I hope that his words will encourage you to be a proactive practitioner supporting the environment and this little blue dot in the universe on which we live, play, and love.  In gassho, Shokai

The Buddhist precepts are a teaching on how to live our lives in harmony with the totality of the universe.  When we look at the precepts, we normally think of them in terms of people.  Indeed, most of the moral and ethical teachings of the great religions address relationships among people.  But these precepts do not exclusively pertain to the human realm.  They are talking about the whole universe, and we need to see them from that perspective if we are to benefit from what they have to offer and begin healing the rift between ourselves and the universe.

The Three Pure Precepts, Not creating evil, Practicing good, and Actualizing good for others, are a definition of harmony in an inherently perfect universe, a universe that is totally interpenetrated, codependent, and mutually arising.  But the question is: How do we accomplish that perfection? The Ten Grave Precepts point that out.  Looking at the Ten Grave Precepts in terms of how we relate to our environment is a step in the direction of appreciating the continuous, subtle, and vital role we play in the well-being of this planet–a beginning of taking responsibility for the whole catastrophe (pages 89-90).

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