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

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Sect‭ion XXV
The Ears of the Spirit

He is a most exquisite Voice,
A Voice that all the world encompasses,
The Voice of Brahma, Voice of oceans,
One that all the voices of the world does much excel.

The Scripture of Avalokiteswara Bodhisattva (from The Lotus Sutra)
Translated by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett


Paying Attention

The Eternal does not compete for our attention. Its patience is infinite. Our lifetime, however, is very brief, and it is up to each of us whether we will spend our life in preoccupation with transitory external things--or perhaps learn to turn toward, and listen to, That which does not arise and pass, come and go.

As faith is the eyes of the spirit, so meditation is the ears of the spirit. The Source of Wisdom is within ourselves, not in external things. It can be heard if we listen for It.

The methods and techniques that are called "meditation" and "mindfulness" are not what meditation and mindfulness really are. These methods and techniques can be gateways into genuine meditation and mindfulness provided there is a true spiritual motive underlying the practice.

It is natural to us to withdraw within in meditation; it natural to us to continually ground ourselves in our spiritual Center in the midst of daily life and pay attention to the effects of our actions on ourselves and others, which is what mindfulness really is. It is natural to us to listen to the Voice of our own True Nature.

Rev. Master often explained that we are educated to rely too much on our brains, while ignoring and even despising genuine intuition. Thus, Buddhist training is as much a process of "unlearning" as it is a process of learning. Spiritual intuition is neither obscure nor imprecise. As karma is cleansed and converted, the role of intuition in the life of the trainee broadens and deepens. We can "hear" the guidance of our wonderful True Nature: as karma converts, we find it easier to pay attention to the "still, small Voice" within ourselves.


Just as a skilled bicycle rider does not have to think about how to balance on a bicycle, so when we are in harmony with the Eternal we do not need to think about how to have confidence in spiritual intuition. Why would one not trust it and have confidence in it?

Just as it is always possible for even the best bike rider to lose balance and take a nasty fall, especially in very difficult riding situations, so it is always possible for even the most advanced trainee to ignore or misinterpret a message apprehended in spiritual intuition. The fact that one might make a mistake has to be accepted if one is going to trust one's spiritual intuition.

Generally, it is helpful to remember that "I could be wrong." Yet this consideration must not be given so much emphasis that it becomes the excuse for not trusting spiritual intution. That would be like the bike rider ceasing to ever get on a bike again because he might crash. If we would follow where the Eternal leads, we must be willing again and again to step into the unknown with confidence even while being aware that we could be wrong. There is no way to learn to do this other than by doing it. It is possible to do this spiritual hearing and following because there is That which leads, and it is our very nature to be capable of hearing Its Voice and following where It leads.


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