unfold…

“I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere. Because where I am folded, there, I am a lie.”

~

Rainer Maria Rilke

this quote very well may sum up enlightenment or waking up, for me – to live authentically, to be in authentic relationship with the arising and passing life around us, to not fold up or close up in fear or anger, but to remain open – both heart and mind – courageously loving all that is suffering.

~j

#life #enlightenment #WakeUp #samsara #suffering #OpenHeart #courage #StayOpen #authenticity #LoveWins #PlantingSeeds #TheLongArc #practice #meditation #zen #buddhsim #Buddha #JMWart

Bodhi Day – wake up…

Over 2500 years ago, deeply moved by the suffering he saw in life (sickness, aging, and death), disenchanted with the excess from which he came, and the practice of extreme ascetism, the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) set out to meet life face to face, as it is. He sat until he woke up. And in waking up he became the Buddha, which means awakened or awakened one. Seeing the middle way – not running away from or grasping at life, rather meeting life with an open heart – he found freedom from suffering.

Today, December 8th, we Buddhists commemorate the Buddha’s awakening under the Bodhi Tree, as Bodhi Day. A day to remember the event, but to also be reminded that we too can wake up, we too have within us the ability to be with life as it is, to be free and at peace.

This morning I practiced, I sat and meditated, and then painted this “wake up” enso to honor not just this one man who decided to sit beneath a tree and meet life authentically with an open heart, but to honor all who sit, all who practice, all who meet this passing life with all of its beauty and heartbreak with an open heart.

May we all wake up to the preciousness of this life, may empathy and compassion be born from our open hearts, to light the world with our love.

~j

12.08.17

cannot stop the Spring…

 

You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
~ Pablo Neruda

friends ~
love is the spring.  your open heart and your love, have the power to awaken this world.  so, center yourself in openness and love no matter the outside forces, moving forward with empathy and compassion, working to lessen the suffering in the world.
~j

the true enemy…

The other person is not our enemy.
Our enemies are misunderstanding,
discrimination, violence, hatred,
and anger.
~
Thich Nhat Hanh

I love this teaching.  It is deceptively challenging.  On the face of it, most would probably agree (though some may not).  However, when put into practice, I think most of us will find we fall short of honoring these wise words.

In a time such as now, when so much feels at stake and emotions are heightened (and for good reason), the easier path is to assign blame to one person or a group of people and go in for the kill.  It is easier to have a face to direct our anger, our grief, our confusion.  It even feels good!  However good this feels in the short term, and however much it may motivate and seem to contribute to a resolution, in the long run it remains a delusion and contributes to cyclical suffering, fueling the very enemies we are working to defeat.

We will only be successful in our struggle, in this movement, when our motivation to act is fueled by a fierce compassion, born of a love that seeks the end of suffering for all beings, even those who act in harmful ways and contribute to the suffering we are fighting to liberate from.

This is the challenge of our time.  In an era where we seek targets to blame and scapegoats for our suffering, can we with fierce compassion, work for the very solid cause of defeating fascism, defeating racism, defeating homophobia and transphobia, defeating policies that dismiss the poor, the sick, the elderly?  Can we do this without demonizing individuals, even as we tirelessly work for their removal from positions of power, and work against the harmful policies and suffering their ideology causes?  Buddhism and other contemplative practices say we can.  And in fact, when we do we are honoring our true nature and not adding to the suffering.  When we act out of fierce compassion, born from love, we upend the true enemies we seek to defeat: confusion, discrimination, violence, hatred, and anger.  And in doing so, we are planting seeds toward the long arc, contributing to the end of suffering for all people.  Then we are acting as bodhisattvas in this world.  And this world, especially now, needs as many bodhisattvas as it can get.

We begin with our own hearts.

~j
05.19.17

hold to the center…

A monk asked Xinghua Cunjiang, “What should one do when things come from every direction?”

The master said, “Hold to the center.”
The monk bowed.

The master then said, ” Yesterday, as I was on my way to a dinner in the village, I was caught in a sudden storm with heavy rain and violent wind, so I headed for an old shrine and found shelter.”

~ Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans,
trans. Thomas Yuho Kirchner

I read the above story in the latest edition of Tricycle Buddhist Review, from an essay written by Wendy Egyoku Nakao Roshi.  I was moved by this story and inspired to create the artwork above.

Where do you find your center?  What anchors you as the waves crash around and against you?  Where do you find your ease and calm as turbulent winds swirl around knocking you off balance?  How do you keep awareness focused, when distractions vie for your attention?

For me it is my meditation practice, it is nature, it is the tenderness of an open heart, it is love.   It is staying with all that is and bearing witness, anchored in my breath and them from a place of compassion, moving into some sort of action that feels beneficial, that hopefully serves love and light.

I suppose everyone’s center may be different.  It seems increasingly important to know what it is.  There seem to be some who are intent on knocking us off balance repeatedly, wearing us out.  But what they have forgotten, or may not be aware of, is that there is a place for each of us where we can find our balance, our focus, and a calm resolve to stick with it for the long arc.

~j
05.11.17

the world is burning…


no doubt humankind has contributed to climate change. to deny this is to deny the very nature of life, of existence, which is to say that all things are interconnected and interdependent.  another way to say this is that our actions affect our environment and our environment in turn affects us.  this is the law of karma, of cause and effect.  the seeds we plant, will grow.

but nevertheless, if a house is burning, we don’t stand around arguing that neither we nor anyone we know has started the fire as the house burns around us. it would be insanity to do so. instead, we get to work on putting the fire out.
the world is burning.

can we break our addiction to consumption?
can we find the lasting joy and peace in contentment?
can we reconnect with a sense of reverence for all life including the planet herself?

we need to. we are being called to.

will we answer?

~j
04.29.17