Welcome O Life

08-22-2013 | Bob Sabath

Reflections on the Day by Stefan

Today and yesterday we have been together around Jesus words "I desire compassion/mercy and not sacrifice and religion." Startling words both then and now. It begins as always in the depths. It begins in the heart where compassion and mercy are born. Today we are reflecting around how this might happen through the powerful way of encounter. What capacity of heart is called for as we truly encounter another human being? What capacity of heart that brings us to a place of transfiguration?

As we reflect together on Jesus' life we see the Son of Man, the Human One who is transfigured before our very eyes. Yes, on the mountain with James, Peter and John, and ALSO ALL DURING HIS LIFE he is continually being transfigured in the encounters along the way. This vision of Jesus is a very beautiful one that sometimes escapes our eyes. Sometimes we imagine Jesus as the one who did NOT change but the gospel presents the good news that he did go through a tussling transformation as he encounters people and reality all along the way.

From the time he was very young the scripture says that he "grew in wisdom?" When did this growing in wisdom stop? When did he stop asking questions? When did he get it all together? Hmm... The good news is that right up until his final breath he was being transfigured by the many encounters he experienced.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce

Welcome O Life!
I go to encounter for the millionth time
the reality of experience
and to forge in the smithy of my soul
the uncreated conscience of the race.


 

We read read aloud together and reflected upon a lovely little story by Rick Fields called The Buddha and the Goddess. In it we see with humor the Buddha being transfigured through his surprising encounter with the Goddess. "Why, O Goddess do you block my way?"

Buddha and the Goddess
by Rick Fields

Thus have I made up:
Once the Buddha was walking
along the forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai,
walking without arriving anywhere or having any
thought of arriving or not arriving.
And lotuses, shining with the morning dew
miraculously appeared under every step
Soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha.
When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking
eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
or a spider's web
transparent as the dew on a lotus flower
--the Goddess appeared quivering
like a hummingbird in the air before him.
She, for she was surely a she
as the Buddha could clearly see
with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,
was mostly red in color
though when the light shifted
she flashed like a rainbow.
She was naked except
for the usual flower ornaments
goddesses wear.
Her long hair
was deep blue, her eyes fathomless pits
of space, and her third eye a bloodshot
song of fire.
The Buddha folded his hands together
and greeted the Goddess thus:
"O goddess, why are you blocking my path?
Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
Now I'm not so sure where I go."
"You can go around me,"
said the Goddess, twirling on her heel like a bird
darting away,
but just a little way away,
"or you can come after me
but you can't pretend I'm not here,
This is my forest, too."
With that the Buddha sat
supple as a snake
solid as a rock
beneath a Bo tree
that sprang full-leaved
to shade him.
"Perhaps we should have a chat,"
he said.
"After years of arduous practice
at the time of the morning star
I penetrated reality and."
"Not so fast, Buddha," the Goddess said,
"I am reality."

The earth stood still,
the oceans paused,
the wind itself listened
--a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas and dakinis
magically appeared to hear
what would happen in the conversation.
"I know I take my life in my hands,"
said the Buddha,
"But I am known as the Fearless One
--so here goes."
And he and the Goddess
without further words
exchanged glances.
Light rays like sun beams
shot forth
so brightly that even
Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
had to turn away.
And then they exchanged thoughts
And the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle
And then they exchanged minds
And there was a great silence as vast as the universe that
contains everything
And then they exchanged bodies
And then clothes
And the Buddha arose
as the Goddess
and the Goddess arose as the Buddha.
And so on back and forth
for a hundred thousand hundred thousand kalpas.
If you meet the Buddha
you meet the Goddess.
If you meet the Goddess,
you meet the Buddha.
Not only that. This:
The Buddha is emptiness,
The Goddess is bliss.
The Goddess is emptiness,
The Buddha is bliss.
And that is what
And what-not you are
It's true.
So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha,
the unsurpassed non-dual mantra. Just to say this mantra,
just to hear this mantra once, just to hear one word of this
mantra once makes everything the way it truly is: OK.
So here it is:
Earth-walker/sky-walker
Hey silent one, Hey great talker
Not two/ not one
Not separate/ not apart
This is the heart
Bliss is emptiness
Emptiness is bliss
Be your breath, Ah
Smile, Hey, And relax, Ho
Remember: You can't miss.

The scripture today was the story of God blazing out in the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman( Mattew 15). Here is the voice of the Spirit calling Jesus to a broader, deeper vision and life.

Listen to song: Prayer of Abandonment.
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