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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
A moment ago, there was a loud thud against the window. I looked out and saw a beautiful bird lying quietly on the patio, eyes half-open, the white dappled belly and yellow tail feathers freely exposed. The body was still warm but without the lively motion that ended in a crash and fall. What is it that died? What is it that is born? A bird has died, another one has hatched, an old man has exhaled his last breath, a baby has left the womb, a flower has frozen as another one has opened its purple petals. What is it that is born and dies? From The Springwater Newsletter, January 1996 The Quest for Enlightenment Would there be any quest for enlightenment if it weren’t for our sense of time? Time is created by thought, memory, imagination: what I was, what I am, what I will be. Forever feeling insuf- ficient and lacking, we want to become whole and complete in the future. We will submit to any spiritual path to overcome our hindrances in the course of time. Then, we imagine hopefully, there will come the day when we experience enlighten- ment, the liberation from bondage that has been promised to us by the traditions of the past. I don’t think in terms of having experiences anymore. Things just happen. Rain is dripping softly. The heart is beating. There is breathing, in-out-in-out-in-out. There is quiet listening, openness ... emptiness ... nothing.... Enlightenment? How lethal it is to attach a label. Then you become somebody. At the moment of labeling, aliveness freezes into a concept. “My enlightenment experience!” To be alive, fully alive, means flowing without hin- drance—a vulnerable flow of aliveness with no resistance. Without any sense of passing time. Without needing to think about “myself”—what I am, what I will be. Our craving for experiences is a resistance to simply being here now. It’s such a relief to realize we don’t have to be anything. From The Light of Discovery SETHLEVINSON