The universe exists. You exist. We are from the same Source and share the same material and we are different.
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego.
Meet the existence of whatever comes with devotion. The many things come to awaken you.
Whatever comes is given to you to see and know. Consider it carefully. With a longsuffering mind. Not with the habitual patterns of mind. With care. Slow and care-full. Whatever it is, it comes to liberate you as you meet it to liberate it.
It is often overlooked but it is in truth that all things share an imperceptible mutual assistance. It goes unnoticed because we are caught in some habit, some mindset, some mood that is self-involved.
Furthermore, we are stuck in the flame of separation. We think, believe and act as a separate being ignoring that we are kindred spirits that share a kindred heritage and share kindred experiences of existence. We all breathe the air.
At the beginning of the Cook’s Prayer there is an important recognition of this Truth. It is a Truth that helps us see for ourselves our work is not mine, not a thing to get, not something to finish and keep. It is a rare bird who can offer this part of the prayer with sincerity.
Here it is:
In gratitude I acknowledge all cooks (workers) gone before me, after me, and with me now. I request their help, offering incense to them and Buddha.
Our ancestors before us and after us and those all around us have struggled as we do to see the imperceptible mutual assistance of all things. The requirements to offer work as devotion are resting not only on concentration and focus but a grateful attitude. I can’t say it enough – gratitude is a rarity.
What makes gratitude a rarity is our expectations and desires of the selfish self who has been taught to expect something in return for a gift given. We are so self-centered that we think we deserve certain treatment and certain things from others. This attitude blocks gratitude. When gratitude is blocked, we act in all sorts of selfish ways.
It becomes difficult for us to act according to the following instructions:
Keep your mind on your work and do not throw things around carelessly.
We are careless in regards to what is given and what we offer. We think we deserve better or more or have a fit and think life is unfair. We feel cheated. All of this is self-centered.
We have forgotten the nature of karma. Our actions before have brought the result now. Our response now will bring the result later.
It requires courage and generosity to overcome the wounds done to the selfish ego. But it must be overcome in order to travel upward to the summit. It is easy to see that if the wound is cherished the mind is not able to stay on the work at hand and wants to get even or get some recompense or retaliate or blame. Careless offerings thrown together come from the overwhelmed, selfish ego not from the golden bird.
But all is not lost. Don’t get discouraged, if you are wounded. Selfish. Self-centered. Your ancestors suffered as you do. It is the human condition. And it can be overcome. It requires discipline and diligence and training.
Courage, encouragement and generosity are healing activities that move the mind to the golden bird. Move the mind to the offering of work as devotional acts again and again and again.
After all, everything comes from the One, and One comes from everything. You and I are not the Source but we can find the Source and find union with the Source.
It is like this line from a poem:
The sky, without a map, finds its way to your nose and becomes your breath.
This finding is always possible. Without a map the One comes and without a map everything returns to the One. It is our True nature to return to the One. We yearn for home. The whole world yearns for home. Each thing that comes into your life, comes to awaken you to the yearning for the One. That is the imperceptible mutual assistance that comes and comes and comes. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet it.
Author: Fashi Lao Yue
ZATMA is not a blog.
If you are interested in doing a silent retreat or for some reason you need elucidation on the teaching, please contact editor at: firstname.lastname@example.org