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

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Section XVI
The Gift

Everything in the world of form is born out of ignorance;
When there is no fullness and no brightness things need to become pure.
Examine everything until the Lord permeates the entire flow;
Keep looking and you will see the Sun of the Eternal
Rising above the top of the mountain of karma,
Illuminating all with a rosy glow!


The Gift Given

In recent Sections of these "Reflections in a Disciple's Life" I have described a central theme that emerges in my karmic history--love and loss.

Some of the people in my karmic stream tried to prevent the loss of what they loved by killing others. This did not prevent loss; it only compounded the suffering of the perpetrator, as well as hurting others. Some experienced the loss of what they loved as a result of others' violence. These victims in my karmic stream died in various states of confusion and misery.

As these karmic stories unfolded in my experience during my retreat in 1998-99, a teaching emerged that is still changing my view of love and loss. This teaching has four points.

The first point: Love is a gift, and all that we love is part of that gift.

The gift is given into our custody, and there is always a responsibility that accompanies our custodianship. We can use love wisely or unwisely: in either case, we will get the consequences of our actions. If we would love wisely, we are well advised to ask, listen to, and follow the guidance of our wonderful True Nature. After all, It is the Source of the gift.

Read the Fine Print

The second point: The gift is given with conditions. It is very important to read the fine print on the package.

Here is the fine print:

This gift came from the Eternal and is of the Eternal.
Everything that arises also passes away: that which came from the Eternal must one day return to the Eternal.


The Gift Returned

The third point: We can willingly offer every gift into the hands of the Eternal.

We do not have to wait for disaster to strike to do this offering. We can do it every day. Offering lies at the heart of meditation.

Custodianship of the gift is different from ownership. That which is given to us to love and care for is of the Eternal: if it belongs to anyone, it belongs to the Eternal.

When we are separated from that which we love, from those we love, we can willingly return the gift, entrusting that which we love, those we love, into the hands of the Eternal. If we have trained in offering while we have had custodianship of the gift, we will find it easier to return the gift willingly when it leaves our custodianship.

The True Nature of Loss

The fourth point: Loss is an intrinsic aspect of the gift.

We can love with a love that is narrowed and ultimately saddened by clinging. But as clinging is converted, love is not lost. Rather, we awaken to Love Itself. The loss of all that arises and passes, the loss of all that is born and dies, is a certainty. But this loss is not the loss of Love Itself.

As long as we are alive, we will know the sadness of loss. But the way in which we have loved, and the choices we make when we are separated from that which we love, will determine whether this sadness takes the form of desperate grief, anger and despair--or whether it opens our hearts and minds more fully to the Infinite Love which enfolds all arising and passing, birth and death, but which Itself neither arises nor passes, neither is born nor dies.

In the pain of loss, we one day cry out to the Eternal for help. And one day we come to the great dawning in which we see all that we have loved and lost contained within, and illumined by, the Love of the Eternal. Then we know gratitude for loss itself: loss is an intrinsic and precious part of the gift of love.


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