Lessons from nature: Moments of rest

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All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

William Carlos Williams, Winter Trees


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Suffering is our best teacher because it hangs onto us and keeps us in its grip until we have learned that particular lesson. Only then does suffering let go. If we haven’t learned our lesson, we can be quite sure that the same lesson is going to come again, because life is nothing but an adult education class. If we don’t pass in any of the subjects, we just have to sit the examination again. Whatever lesson we have missed, we will get it again. That is why we find ourselves reacting to similar situations in similar ways many times.

Ayya Khema, Being Nothing,  Going Nowhere

photo nigel callaghan

Not everything is grasped by thinking

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After learning from Dogen and the Japanese Zen tradition yesterday, today we can learn from Bodhidharma, (6th Century),  the larger-than-life transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, who similarly reminds us that direct knowing is often richer than understanding reality just by thinking.

If you use your (thinking) mind to study reality,

You won’t understand either your mind or reality.

If you study reality without using your mind

You’ll understand both.

photo oxfordian kissuth