Published Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Just as a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus
can grow from a pile of discarded waste,
the radiance of a true disciple of the Buddha
outshines dark shadows cast by ignorance.
Dhammapada v. 58-59
Perhaps there are times when we look at all the garbage we find stored in our minds and feel disheartened. This 'discarded waste' is the consequences of previous unawareness. But we can choose how we are going to view these consequences - the regrets, embarrassments and resentments to which we are still clinging. We are not obliged to assume it must always be that way. Before he was the Buddha, Siddarttha Gotama struggled; the Teachers we all look up to have struggled; and we too all struggle when we are not seeing clearly. What matters, here and now, is what we do with the struggle. The Buddha's Awakening offered the world a vision of that which is possible. Our task as disciples of the Buddha is to uncover the possibilities within us; not to assume that the detritus of ignorance which we encounter inside ourselves is what defines us. When compost is properly processed, it transforms into valuable nutriment.