The Buddha Kicked Booty

In Buddhism there is always room to keep digging. It is not as though one can get away with pretending the Earth has a core; there is no comforting, molten center where everything turns back into itself. It is and always has been about being grounded in groundlessness: “If you think you’ve got it, you’ve missed it. If you think you’ve missed it, you’re wrong.”

The love affair with this spiritual path could be likened to the now infamous poem “Ode On A Grecian Urn,” in which a description is provided of a lover reaching for his beloved’s hand. The catch is that he is eternally just inches from grasping her, and she in turn is eternally just inches from being caught. Their wanting and fleeing, their desire and fright, will last as long as the carving on the urn itself – essentially forever.

Studying the lojong mind training slogans (just Google “lojong”) is a helpful reminder of this pillar in Buddhist philosophy. Just when you think you’ve “gotten somewhere,” there is always further to go. All that, and believe it or not, enlightenment could actually just happen in an instant. It’s partly about karma, yes, but it’s also about effort and loving-kindness. And actually, it’s not about “changing” our inherent nature, either.

On Friday, Mark said:

“Are you trying to achieve ultimate bodhichitta by studying the slogans?”

I told him that was a loaded question. Then I paused, and added: “Or maybe it’s a loaded answer.”

He smiled, satisfied, and we changed subjects. But my mind spontaneously returned to one of the slogans: “Self liberate even the antidote.” In other words, noticing your own habitual pattern (eating too many brownies when faced with the possibility of loneliness) is not enough. Getting so close to it you could puke isn’t even enough. It’s something sure, but even that can be cut through.

Multiply that times 1,000 – no, 10,000 – no – apply it to everything you think about your own existence and the “reality” of life as you “know” it.

Then go deeper.


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