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#2728 - Monday, February 12, 2007 - Editor: Gloria Lee
"FREEDOM FROM THE PAST
'I would like freedom from my terrible past.'
'You are now free from it.'
'But I don't feel it.'
'That is because you are
thinking instead of realizing.
Thought functioning as memory seems to tie you to the
past, but it is an illusory rope. When thinking about the past
you think about it _now_. Now is all there is, so right now
you are free from the past.'"
--Vernon Howard, There is
a Way Out, p. 79
My home can be
anywhere, heaven or earth.
All I need is room in my heart.
And a good source of water, of course.
If I'm on a mountain, I
can set my own pace.
Down here, I'm busy now putting away herbs.
But even when I'm not busy I still don't read much.
You need room in your
heart... a big empty space
To sort out what's real from what's not.
--Master Hsu Yun
Like a man floating
in water who dies of thirst, afraid of
drowning: so are those who are learned who do not apply the
teaching. Like a person skilled in medicine who can't cure his
own disease: so are those who are learned who do not apply
the teaching. Like a deaf musician who pleases others, not
hearing himself: So are those who are learned who do not
apply the teaching. Like someone on a corner saying all kinds
of fine things, while having no real inner virtue: so are those
who don't practice.
--The Flower Ornament
Scripture, trans. by Thomas Cleary
Some people think
that they will practice the dharma once
they have finished with their worldly business. This is a
mistaken attitude because our work in the world never
finishes. Work is like a ripple of water continually moving on
the surface of the ocean. It is very difficult to break free
from our occupations in order to practice dharma. The busy
work with which we fill our lives is only completed at the time
of our death.
--Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Meaningful to Behold
Anything that acts
as an antidote to self-grasping is Dharma
practice. Whereas, even though we may engage in a great
variety of practices that may appear to be spiritual, if they
do not act to destroy our self-grasping, they are not Dharma
--Gomo Tulku, "Becoming a Child of the Buddhas"
Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought...
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
And I too, and my children, so I hope,
will recall as not too heavy the tug
of those albatrosses I sadly placed
upon their tender necks. Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.
--David Ray, from Music of Time: Selected and New Poems
Alan Larus photos http://www.ferryfee.com/bluesky/shores/apple.htm
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