HOW TO GROW A LOTUS BLOSSOM: Reflections in a Disciple's Life

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Section VII

To be with the Cosmic Buddha and to play in the Ocean of Nirvana--
How rare is the wonderful door of the Dharma and
The Transmission of the early Buddhist Ancestors! . . .
When your heart becomes the same as the world of Immaculacy,
It will manifest the laws of Immaculacy
And realize the True Body of Immaculacy
Which is beyond existence and non-existence.


The True Heart of Ancient Buddhas

In the winter of 1996 I visited Rev. Master at Shasta Abbey. During this visit, I took the opportunity one time when we were alone in her office to say, "I want to thank you for all you have done for me." Rev. Master simply replied, "You did it all yourself, friend."

It is true that Rev. Master could not do my training for me, and it never would have occurred to her to try. And for me, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett was, is and will be the living Buddha given to me by the Eternal to guide me into harmony with Itself. But the Eternal did not force Rev. Master to accept me as her disciple, and she was not forced to keep me as her disciple and continue to help me for over twenty years. Sometimes this help came as "the voice of thunder", sometimes as great tenderness, sometimes as clear teaching delivered at precisely the right moment--but most often it came as the example of another human being accepting her own humanity and the humanity of other people, and resolutely doing her own training.

Another time, I had asked Rev. Master how I could show my gratitude--and I meant my gratitude to her in particular. She replied, "There is only one way--to pass It on." Here "It" means the Transmission that has flowed through all the Buddhas and Ancestors down to Rev. Master, and on to--and through--her disciples and grand-disciples.

Merit from a Past Life

Many years ago I had a memory of a single scene from a past life. In this scene, a young monk--probably no more than twenty years of age--was walking beside an old, blind monk. The young monk was on the left side of the old monk and was supporting and guiding him with great tenderness. I was shown that I had inherited the karma of the young monk, and that Rev. Master had inherited the karma of the old monk.

When I think of all the help that Rev. Master gave me, my mind goes back to that memory of the two monks. Master Enan said, "The fact that we are in this boat [of training together] is due entirely to our good deeds in past lives; that we are blessed with the opportunity of spending the training period together in the same monastery is equally due to the same cause."--To which I would add, "The fact that we are able to train together as master and disciple is due to the same cause, and is the greatest blessing of all."

The Dewdrop Slips into the Shining Sea

On the morning of November 6, 1996, I was in a local town doing errands. As I went about my business, some words ran through my mind over and over again: "That which we truly are is not affected by birth and death." The Eternal really does look after us! Shortly after I returned to the temple, I received a phone call telling me that Rev. Master had just died.

As I said in the Introduction to these "Reflections in a Disciple's Life," this narrative has a very limited focus. I have not described the decline in Rev. Master's health in her last years. I knew she was deeply exhausted because she told me so--factually and without complaint--and because I have eyes and could see how hard it was. I could also glimpse something of the depth and power of the meditation that sustained her and enabled her to continue to be the spiritual locomotive chugging up the track pulling so many people along with her. My immediate reaction upon hearing of my master's death was to say, "Great!"--because I knew that she was fully ready to go, and because if ever a human being needed, and had earned, a good rest, it was Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. The love of a spiritual child clings to the beloved; the love of a spiritual adult lets go of the beloved. And, being complex beings, we can let go and still grieve.

When I was meditating in the Founder's Shrine at Shasta Abbey with Rev. Master's body a day or two after her death, I was shown that at the time of my own death she would be there to greet me. I do not think of Rev. Master as being in any way separate from the Eternal. I do not try to understand any of this intellectually. I just trust it.

I also believe that Rev. Master was so much in oneness with the Eternal at the time of death, that she just dissolved into the Great Immaculacy, releasing a great shower of merit that continues to bless my life and that of all beings. In Buddhism, this is called "Parinirvana"--full, final cessation of suffering and reunion with the Unborn.

I wrote a poem shortly after Rev. Master's Parinirvana. It is called "The Wind Bell" and is the third poem on the Poems page of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom: Reflections. A link to this page can be found at the bottom of this page.


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