Dharma Gleanings


cynthia rich

Foreword to Later Gleanings

To My Imaginary Readers:

At the close of 2015, I wrote that the gleanings from that year would likely be the final ones. It seems delightfully Buddhist to confess that they were not. In the teachings of no birth-no death, no beginning/no end I find license to share beyond “Final” Gleanings and give space for Later Gleanings.

It seems clearer that what appeared as an ending was a temporary pause in a natural cycle for the practitioner between insight and concentration, between mind and heart, between the impulse to find words for the discoveries we uncover and resting with trust in a still mind free of language.

The world of insight is invigorating, bringing the satisfaction, and often delight, of penetrating more deeply into a truth. Those periods give energy (virya) and wisdom (prajna) and deepen the practice. The periods of wordlessness, as we integrate those insights, feel joyfully spacious and allow us, not simply to observe, but to inhabit the truth.

At the time closest to dying, it is my hope to dwell in the concentrated mind, free of words and insights.

However since this sentient being is neither dying nor fully awakened, she continues to spend time in that shallower state in which insights continue to arise and it continues to be pleasing to share them.

What follows are some fruits of that state that I hope may bring small nourishments to your practice.

It is striking to me that April 8, 2016 seems to echo the understandings of April 2, 2007 almost a decade earlier. Do we keep learning the same truths over and over? The answer would seem to be yes, that the truths are simple, often even obvious, and yet we learn them each time at a deeper level of experience, so that each time they feel fresh and new and transforming.

Awakening means that we live in the world not just by understanding those truths of our lives, but by coming to live from the place of truth. A little like the difference between someone first buying a beautiful home, then moving some of her possessions into it, then having a cup of tea at the table, and then moving in—sleeping, eating, defecating, paying bills, talking on the phone, looking at life out of those windows.

In a similar way, during the final weeks of June, 2016 I was able to move in to a deeper experience of that cluster of truths of non-self/non-separation/impermanence/emptiness that I presented earlier in the last months of 2015.

I have long enjoyed creating practices for myself based on the traditional Buddhist practices. During May (as well as on December 12) 2016 I created more new ones that may be helpful.

May the words on this web site bring only what can provide clarity and energy to your practice.