by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

The Kaleidoscopic Mind

If one can transcend motion and rest [i.e. attachment to either activity or stillness], the world has been fully entered; the signs of becoming a True Buddha are shown whilst searching, attaining, knowing enlightenment and experiencing Nirvana, and these are all existence, time, flow.

Great Master Dogen
Uji (The Theory of Time)

Acceptance of Change

Throughout these Reflections, I have emphasized that spiritual training and enlightenment is a continuing process within which there is no static state of attainment. No state of body and mind lasts forever. The truth of this teaching is constantly verified in experience.

For those who long for eternal rest or eternal paradise, the above teaching does not provide much comfort (though those who have been afraid of an eternal hell may find consolation in the fact that hellish states too are impermanent). But those who are willing to accept change with a positive attitude of mind find that they are living a continuing adventure into the unknown--an adventure of unfolding spiritual opportunities and challenges in which faith is always needed.

Riding the Wave of Change

Non-clinging is the key to riding the wave of change. If one is not clinging, what is one doing?--Looking up and offering. And so faith and willingness (generosity of spirit) constitute the real heart of non-attachment.

If we trust the Eternal and are willing to follow where the Eternal leads (faith and willingness)--and to follow gladly (generosity of spirit)--then any state through which we pass is an aspect of enlightenment. Our life becomes a kaleidoscope within which aspects of enlightenment constantly manifest, dissolve, re-arrange themselves, dissolve--ever-changing and ever-revealing the Eternal Life of the Unborn.

The basic rhythm of the spiritual life is the rhythm created by the periodic alternation of being drawn within in pure contemplation and going back out to do that which needs to be done in the world: this is the meaning of "Go in and out." And neither the contemplative nor the active aspect of what is in fact one spiritual flow ever manifests in precisely the same way twice.

Many Changing Aspects; One Root

In the text accompanying Plates L-LII of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom (first edition, XXXII), entitled "The True Being," Rev. Master writes the following description of the way in which she is shown that aspects of training and enlightenment arise and pass in accordance with the need of the moment and all the while the root of all these aspects is to be found within pure meditation--ultimately within the Buddha Nature Itself:

"During the night I am conscious of sitting still in the center of the golden lotus [in the hara]. The doors are open to the world and golden light streams out of them. That which is standing in the centre of the golden flower is now the new-born Buddha with one hand pointing up and the other down; He is standing in the centre of the column of light which has entered my head and this column is in the centre of the golden flower. The column and the Baby Buddha melt into a diamond nyoi which is exactly the shape of my spine; it changes into a lotus blossom, then into a lotus pod, then into a bud, into a dragon with five whiskers and into the elephant with five trunks that curl up into these same five columns. It constantly changes from one to the other. I understand that sometimes I am the diamond sceptre which penetrates the universe; sometimes I am the lotus blossom, sometimes I pour out the seeds of the Dharma; sometimes I am the defender of the faith [represented by the dragon] and sometimes I am holy [represented by the elephant's patient strength]. And all of these things find their root in the centre of the golden lotus within my hara."

This passage is dense with Buddhist symbols. "Sitting still in the center of the golden lotus" refers to pure meditation. The "doors" of the hara are "open" and "light streams out of them:" this describes the all-accepting, all-embracing greatheartedness of the Buddha Nature--everything is of the Buddha Nature; "all dharmas are pure [in this context, "dharmas" means "modes of existence"]." We open ourselves to this spiritual Reality and radiate It to the world in pure meditation. The new-born Buddha standing within the golden lotus in the hara represents our own True Self that can be seen when the dust of greed, hate and delusion has been washed from mind and heart. The column of light is the Oneness and the Immaculacy of all within the Eternal. The diamond nyoi (diamond sceptre) represents the "Absolute upright" as It manifests within our own body and mind in pure meditation and as It permeates the whole of existence, whether beings are aware of the fact or not. The open lotus blossom represents enlightenment. The lotus pod represents the Dharma--Truth--in readiness for germination in the minds and hearts of beings. The lotus bud represents burgeoning potential for enlightenment. The meaning of dragon and elephant are shown in the last two lines of the above quote (see my comments in brackets).

There are many aspects of training and enlightenment, and all are rooted in the Buddha Nature. The spiritual meaning of the act of meditating is that we get out of the way of the Buddha Nature, which is in fact our own True Self. Then from this True Center of our being the aspects of training/enlightenment manifest naturally in accordance with what is good at any particular moment and in any particular situation.

And none of these aspects of training/enlightenment belongs to, or is a property or attainment of, an ego-entity or self. As Rev. Master often pointed out, we can put our hand in the river of enlightenment and be one with its flow, but if we try to grab or possess that river, we come up with an empty hand.


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