Monday, May 6, 2013

The Practice of Companionship

The spring practice period opened today with a peregrination to various altars, including one atop the roof, at sunrise, sans bees.  Standing in the cool breeze under a softly glowing, partly cloudy sky, forty-two participants – some residents, some commuters – agreed to spend the next six weeks exploring the theme of “Dharma Friendship.” 

The idea of the good friend, the path-partner, prevails in Buddhism.  Without it, sangha fizzles.  “Only a Buddha and a Buddha,” Dogen surmised, could understand reality – because only through others do we see reflected the reality we’ve made.  And only with others do we have a prayer of changing it.  No one goes it alone.  The self-made (wo)man is the epitome of delusion.  Nothing that’s you was made by you, not even your idea of who you are.  Tozan’s jeweled mirror isn’t a piece of glass, it’s other people – in truth they are you.

So, we’ll spend six weeks exploring we, muting I.  The metaphors are legion – front and back foot in walking, light and dark, boat and shore, inquiry and response.   The point is so profound and so astonishingly simple: Our life is an “and.” 

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