Dharma Gleanings


cynthia rich

February 12, 2015—February 19, 2015

February 12, 2015
As someone who is rather suspicious of the kind of romantic reverence so often accorded to family, with its possessive pronouns of me/mine, I’ve felt somewhat estranged from the Asian practices of ancestor veneration. Now it seems clear that these rituals also are skillful means—they are a way to implant the seeds of an early and lifelong understanding of interdependence, interbeing, dependent origination. They create a foundation for that wider vision, for acknowledging that our apparently separate, independent selves are part of a vast web towards which we can feel intimacy, belonging, awe.

February 15, 2015
Instead of “you asshole” we could say “you forehead.” There is infinitely more useless stuff that passes through our brains than through our anuses.

February 17, 2015
Just as I find it useful to examine the “but” words that we use (January 21, 2015), I can more and more see the value of scratching the question: “What do I want?”

“But” feeds the suffering that comes from dualism, and “I want” feeds the suffering from our grasping.

What do I want to eat? What do I really want in my life? Such questions can be rephrased without grasping. “Which of these foods is most wholesome? and if all are equally wholesome, I’ll choose the pleasanter taste.” “What changes can I make that will create a life more wholesome and so more gratifying?”

I don’t want any sugar. I don’t want that job. “The sugar is empty calories that don’t affect me well.” “That job will not support my simple living or my growth and practice.”

The rephrasings can help to realign our lives by liberating us from a language of suffering, of grasping and aversion.

Most revealing is when we find ourselves saying or thinking, I’m trying to decide what I want. If we can’t decide what we want, we are not wanting at that moment and what we want is the wanting, and wanting of that kind is suffering.

As with “but” we can discover that “want” is not nearly as necessary in conversation as we imagine. First however, we can begin just by listening to our own inner voices and become aware of how often we are using a childish, egoic word that leads us towards suffering.

February 19, 2015
The more we shake loose from our tight identities and experience non-separation—seeing our “selves” simply as part of a larger web—the less energy we give to what others think of us. For you to have an opinion of me depends upon there being a fixed You and a fixed Me.