by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Chapter 1
Unconditional Love

The Light of the Lord of the House, the Heart-Mind, irradiates the infinity of space--within Its center I may not say that It is empty; I may not say that It is not empty. It is unstained, immaculate; I am not It, It is all of me; thus form is void and void is form.

--Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett
How to Grow a Lotus Blossom, Plate LXIV (first edition: Plate XLIII)

Two Oceans

A single human being can contain an ocean of grief. Feeling is the ultimate reaper of karma, and when very heavy karma is reaped in feeling at the deepest level, the ocean of grief is revealed.

Fortunately, each human being (and all the grief within each human being) exists within the Great Ocean of Immaculacy.

When the ocean of our grief is at last able to flow and disperse into the infinitely vaster, and all-accepting Ocean of Immaculacy, the spiritual wound that underlies our grief begins to heal.

The Blindness of Cosmic Love

Fortunately for us, the Love of the Eternal is incapable of loving one aspect of Itself more than another. We live in the shadow of our own judgment of ourselves, but the Love of the Eternal does not see that shadow--which is, after all, an unreality.

Cosmic Love does not distinguish perpetrator from victim, the just from the unjust, the good from the bad: It just envelops all in Its limitless Compassion.

It is that Compassion that we open our mind, body and spirit to in pure meditation. In the beginning, we may think of it as our embracing of all that arises; one day we know it as our offering to the Eternal of all that arises. What is the difference?--One day we hit the limit of what we can do on our own and we cry out for help with our whole being. Then we find that the limit of what we can do on our own is not the limit of what the Love of the Eternal can do. This is the meaning of "grace."

A Human Expression

When we need the human expression of unconditional acceptance and love, it is provided, and we can trust this fact implicitly: we do not have to grasp after human love.

Sometimes this acceptance and love--and, when it is needed, forgiveness--comes from the most unlikely quarter. It is important to understand that the Eternal quietly and tirelessly works for the good of all beings, and that it is the Eternal that brings us together with precisely the right form of help at the right time. There are plenty of surprises in this process.

I have spoken here of the human expression of unconditional love. But the expression of such love is not limited to humans. Animals and other beings are capable of being the vehicles of unconditional love: all beings possess the Buddha Nature.

Two Points of Teaching

In the fall of 1974, Rev. Master gave a series of lectures during a week-long monastic sesshin (meditation retreat). She used visual aids--one of which was a version of the Buddhist "Wheel of Life"--to explain Buddhist teachings. I was twenty-five years old. I sat through those lectures in amazement: here was the explanation of life for which I had always been looking. Two points of teaching have always stood out when I have looked back at that wonderful week.

The first point is that when we die we are shown our actions as in a mirror. And we have a choice whether to judge ourselves and sentence ourselves to continued wandering in sangsara--or instead to forgive ourselves for being human and entrust ourselves to the Compassion of the Eternal.

The second point is that in whatever realm rebirth takes place, whether it be a blissful realm or a hellish realm or any other realm, Cosmic Compassion--the Unconditional Love of the Eternal--is to be found. In our ignorance and desperation, we may believe ourselves to be far from It, yet It is always with us. And at any point we can turn toward It and sincerely ask for help.

If we put these two teachings together, we see that whatever we may do to ourselves, the Eternal was, is and always will be right with us and within us. For me, the process that we call "Buddhist training" is the process of awakening to this Unconditional Love, learning to trust It in all situations, and doing that which allows It to help and guide me.

The Shared Adventure

I am one little speck of humanity. Together with other human beings, I live in this world and this universe for a tiny duration of time. And we humans share this universe with a vast number of other beings and forms of existence. We have no idea of the vastness of the scale of it all.

All these beings and forms of existence, in all our realms and worlds, are going together on the same great adventure. And we are all accompanied every inch of the way by the Unconditional Love of the Eternal. To It, all are part of Itself. To It, all are precious.

Living beings can live and die within the Great Ocean of Immaculacy and not recognize It for what It really is. Yet living beings--and especially we human beings--can also awaken to find ourselves, together with all our pain and confusion, in the midst of the Great Immaculacy. Then we can turn toward the Unconditional Love of the Eternal with confidence and allow It to wash and heal our self-inflicted spiritual wounds.


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