07 December 2011

choosing what is

i came across the following poem, which is summed up by the line, 'i vow to choose what is'. and this is something i have considerable difficulty with!

In this passing moment
by Shodo Harada Roshi

“In the presence of Sangha, in the light of Dharma,
in oneness with Buddha — may my path
to complete enlightenment benefit everyone!”

In this passing moment karma ripens
and all things come to be.
I vow to choose what is:
If there is cost, I choose to pay.
If there is need, I choose to give.
If there is pain, I choose to feel.
If there is sorrow, I choose to grieve.
When burning — I choose heat.
When calm — I choose peace.
When starving — I choose hunger.
When happy — I choose joy.
Whom I encounter, I choose to meet.
What I shoulder, I choose to bear.
When it is my death, I choose to die.
Where this takes me, I choose to go.
Being with what is — I respond to what is.

This life is as real as a dream;
the one who knows it can not be found;
and, truth is not a thing — Therefore I vow
to choose THIS dharma entrance gate!
May all Buddhas and Wise Ones
help me live this vow.

in discussing the poem, ivan notes, "You would think the unavoidable nature of “what is” would make a vow like this meaningless, but the human mind and heart are not entirely sane. ;) They often choose fantasy, imaginings, shoulds and coulds, possibilities, even impossibilties, over what is. Very few of us truly dwell in reality. Very few of us sincerely experience the moments of our lives."

so true. the lines regarding choosing to grieve, choosing hunger, choosing to bear remind me of rumi's the guest house. lofty sentiments, but so hard to follow. when i am feeling lost, hurt or abandoned, i want to unexperience that as soon as possible, not dwell in it. moreover, when i am feeling wronged or upset, i have no smiles or sympathy to offer someone else.

and then, i am reminded by buddha, “Pay no attention to the faults of others, things done or left undone by others. Consider only what by oneself is done or left undone.” perhaps the key really is to focus more on myself, rather than others. perhaps i would be much happier if i only worked on myself, and just ignored all the (perceived) slights and faults of others. this is also not easy, but at least it is something concrete i can work towards. whereas if i were concentrating on how mean x was to me, i wouldn't know how to change x's behaviour.. as thoreau said, 'it is not what you look at, but what you see'.

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