by admin on February 19, 2011
I recently re-watched the PBS documentary on the life of the Buddha and was reminded of a powerful practice. Poet Jane Hirshfield discusses The Buddha’s first attempt to teach after gaining enlightenment. He meets a wandering ascetic who asks Buddha, “Who is your guru?” Buddha explains that he has no guru, that he has attained enlightenment on his own. Thoroughly unimpressed, the ascetic walks away.
On his first attempt at teaching, The Buddha had failed.
“Buddha meets someone who doesn’t see anything special about him because the awakened Buddha doesn’t look any different from anybody else. He is ordinary. Buddhism is not about being special. Buddhism is about being ordinary. And it is not about the continual exudation of bliss. It is about walking a normal human life with normal human beings, doing normal human things.”
“And this reminds you that you yourself might be a Buddha. At this moment, the person you’re looking at might be one. It’s an interesting practice. Just each person you see as you walk down the street; ‘Buddha? Buddha? Buddha? Buddha? Buddha?’”
It is interesting, and I do it all the time. Even if the whole Buddhism thing isn’t for you, look at the people you encounter each day, mindful of their true nature, their inherit goodness. Quietly ask that nugget of goodness, “Are you in there? Are you there? Are you there?”
You will see it. In each person, you will see it.