Over the next three weeks as we are studying koans, we will be discussing the Three Treasures of human life, Awakening, the Way, and Spiritual Community. These Three Treasures denote what is precious about our human path. In Buddhism the treasures are known as Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In Christianity we speak of Christ, the Way, and Church. The three treasures, these currents in life are something within which we can take refuge, representing for us a sanctuary for the transformation of consciousness.
This week: Awakening
In her article, “What is Enlightenment?” published in Shambala Sun, (http://www.lionsroar.com/what-is-enlightenment/) Roshi Joan Sutherland tells the following story,
Tolstoy and Chekhov were on a walk in the spring woods when they encountered a horse. Tolstoy began to describe how the horse would experience the clouds, trees, smell of wet earth, flowers, sun. Chekhov exclaimed that Tolstoy must have been a horse in a previous life to know in such detail what the horse would feel. Tolstoy laughed and said, “No, but the day I came across my own inside, I came across everybody’s inside.”
Before we separate ourselves from the world and from others, from animals, plants and things, there is a great intimacy that is ours, that pervades the universe. This great intimacy is awakening. Life itself is awakened, a fabric of interconnection. This is our home, our refuge from which we can never be separated, despite our defensiveness, our plots and schemes. Tolstoy expresses it, “I came across everybody’s inside.” Awakening is simply that, waking up, to the way things are, the unfolding present. This is the first refuge, the first treasure. A koan that will help us to experience for ourselves this refuge goes,
“Quick, before thinking good or evil, what is your original face before your parents were born.”
I look forward to meditation and conversation with you all this Wednesday at 6:30 pm.