by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Part XL
Joy and Woe

It is right it should be so:
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a thread with silken twine.

William Blake
From Auguries of Innocence

The Great Grief

All things pass. All objects, all experiences are transitory. All beings are born, live and die. The objects, experiences and beings that we love are all transitory.

Existence is permeated with suffering. There is pain in sensation.

There is no enduring refuge within the transitory. All that we cling to dissolves away.

Because of beginningless greed, hate and delusion, beings wreak terrible havoc upon one another--no more so than when they are pursuing ideals.

Beings are born, live and die in dark ignorance of where their True Refuge lies. The spiritual need that they carry struggles on, and is often intensified, through lifetime after lifetime.

All of this is why there is the Great Grief.


There is an Unborn, Uncreated, Unformed, Undying--a True and Eternal Refuge. All beings possess the Buddha Nature; all beings possess the capacity to take refuge in the Eternal--to take Refuge in their own True Nature, the "Iron Being" within.

Birth and death, the flow of existence, the making and perpetuating of suffering, the discovery of the Path of true liberation from suffering, the cleansing and conversion of karma, the discovery of our wonderful True Nature, the endless following of the Eternal--all of this happens within the Great Immaculacy. There was, is, and will be nothing separate from the Great Immaculacy: "There is nothing from the first."

There is Nirvana; there is the cessation of suffering. There is the True Way of Ancient Buddhas.

There is a true spiritual purpose to life. Life is not meaningless; suffering is not meaningless. We can understand this purpose. We can live in such a way as to be true to our own True Nature.

There is Compassion. There is That which knows the deepest longing of our heart. All spiritual need one day finds its way back to the Help of the Eternal.

All of this is why there is Great Joy.

Swimming in the Ocean of Sangsara

We cannot know Great Joy if we have not known the Great Grief. We have to know what we are saved from.

It is possible to drown in the Great Grief. The first half of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom shows how to keep swimming--how not to drown. The key is faith--looking up in the midst of the greatest darkness and pain; holding fast to the Lord of the House.

Bowing in Great Joy

Nothing stifles Great Joy like the insertion of ego into the flow of love and gratitude.

Nothing helps avoid the insertion of ego into the flow of love and gratitude like bowing. "Endless bowing" is the very heart of the Way of Ancient Buddhas. The second half of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom shows how to do endless bowing.


Click here to proceed to Part XLI, "Historical Roots of the Five Ranks"


Click here to return to the Table of Contents of Book One: How to Grow a Lotus Blossom: Reflections



Click here to go to Table of Contents of Book Two: How to Grow a Lotus Blossom: Reflections in a Disciple's Life

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