Feb 17th, 2013
Sitting with the beautiful AND the ugly in this world ... finding that which simultaneously transcends and holds, breathes in and breathes out, "beautiful vs. ugly" ... is our Practice.
We are free of aversion and attraction even as we have our ordinary human aversions and attractions, pulling the weeds we can and watering the flowers ... even as we embrace each as just what they are. One finds Wholeness, Light, Beauty that is unconcerned by small human judgments of beauty and ugliness.
We observe the terrible battle fields for what they are, even as we seek to make peace. We sit serenely in the sick room, even as we try to cure the disease. We transcend yet fully embrace a world of beauty and ugliness, even as we do what we can to mend the ugly and make it beautiful.
Is it not the same when we find a certain ugliness amid the beautiful in Buddhism too? A naive student who demands ONLY beauty and goodness in the world ... even the Buddhist world ... one sidedly rejecting the sometimes distasteful or even criminal, may miss the Real Treasure that shines through all of it. That is so even as, in our Wisdom and Equanimity, we keep pulling the weeds we can and nurture the flowers, praise the good and punish the wrongdoer. All at Once, the Eye of Buddha holding all.
Master Dogen quoted his Master's poem in Baike, On Plum Blossoms ... which flower on gnarled twisted branches in our garden each cold February ...
The thorn-like, spike-branched Old Plum Tree
Suddenly bursts forth, first with one or two blossoms,
Then with three, four, five, and finally blossoms beyond count.
... So Beautiful, So Beautiful