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The Buddhist Practice of Going in Circles


Many years in the past, I dreamed of having a home in the nation.  I imagined how it might really feel to eat meals from my backyard.  I visualized chickens flapping their wings and working round in the coop that I’d constructed for them.  And I strategized methods to befriend my neighbors with items of recent produce and heat apple pie.  

Fast ahead to current day.  I reside on a small plot of land in the center of no the place.  I’ve a productive backyard.  I’ve six fats chickens.  And I’ve neighbors who’re type, compassionate folks.  I even have loads of grass.

Grass grows like weeds out right here; getting longer and thicker every day.  It clings to my boots in the wet season, and I’ve seen it choke the life out of a push mower.  A full-sized garden tractor with a forty-two inch mowing deck is required to maintain my garden’s tendrils underneath management.

But reducing grass in the nation is not nearly know-how, there’s additionally method concerned.  Because the grass is course and thick, it isn’t good to run over lengthy grass that is lined in recent grass clippings.  Doing so places additional pressure on the mower blades, which ends up in the engine burning out.  To mediate this a smart groundskeeper mows in a round sample.

They begin on the periphery of the property, and mow in a circle across the perimeter; guaranteeing that every one of the grass clippings are blown away from the middle.  Then they mow a barely smaller circler; guaranteeing that every one of the brand new grass clippings are blown onto the patch of floor they simply mowed.  They proceed in this fashion till they arrive on the heart of the property, and all the garden has been tamed.  

Thus, I spend a number of hours every week using in circles round my garden; trimming the shin-high grass to a decent stage.  Each time I do that I discover one thing new concerning the property.  

That small patch the place nothing grows as a result of the horse trailer was parked there, the massive dent from when an enormous tree fell in a storm, the small gap the place our pleasant neighborhood gophers reside, I see these items and I reply accordingly.

I pace up after I go over the patch of lifeless grass, I decelerate whereas traversing the dent, and I give the gopher gap a large berth, so I do not disturb its inhabitants.

Doing this does not cease the grass from rising.  It was right here earlier than I got here to the property, and it’ll nonetheless be right here when I’ve turned to mud.  But mowing the yard constantly retains it underneath management.  And every time I do it the method turns into simpler, and my life turns into extra peaceable.

In this fashion,  Buddhist observe is loads like reducing the grass.  If we predict of our thoughts like an empty subject, then our ideas are the grass that grows in it.  These ideas start as karmic seeds which might be planted via our life experiences.  

Some of them are seeds of worry.  Some of them are seeds of pleasure.  But all of them are assured to ripen into ideas and actions as soon as the karmic situations are proper.  So, we should handle our minds in the identical manner {that a} landscaper manages a yard.  But that is simpler mentioned than finished.

Because the karmic seeds are continually rising identical to grass in a subject.  And if we aren’t cautious, they will entangle us with tentacles of greed, anger, and despair.  Thus, spirituality is a lifelong observe; identical to mowing the garden.

When we enter the meditation corridor and interact with Buddhist rituals, we reduce down the grass subject of our thoughts.  We hint circles round it till we attain the middle, and take word of what we discover.

We do prostrations in response to prideful ideas, we chant in the face of worry, and we breathe deeply on our cushions to beat ignorance.  

This is sluggish, methodical work.  But every time we do it the method turns into simpler and our thoughts turns into extra peaceable.

In the top, there is no end line to cross, no last prize to win.  There’s solely the observe.  And we interact with it every day; reducing circles in our thoughts till there’s nothing left however enlightenment.

Namu Amida Butsu

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