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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
THICH NHAT HANH 63 A gardener who is aware of the reality of interbeing will not throw away her garbage. Looking at a heap of garbage, she can already see cucumbers, lettuce, and flowers in it. She will use it to make compost for her garden. The interdependent selfnature of the flower means that a flower is made of nonflower elements, such as garbage. If we remove the element “garbage” from the flower, the flower cannot exist. The flower is on its way to becoming garbage, and the garbage is also on its way to becoming a flower. When we take hold of our afflictions and use them as compost, the flowers of joy, peace, liberation, and happiness will grow. We must accept what is here and now, including our suffering and our delusion. Accept ing our suffering and delusion already brings us some peace and joy. This is the beginning of practice. We accept what is in the present moment in order to have a deep perspective and the capacity to transform our circumstances. If we always make the aim of our practice some future circumstance or result, we will never learn to accept the present time and place, which in fact are the correct conditions for our practice. Flowers and garbage both exist in the present, here and now. The conditions for enlightenment also exist here and now, in the present. Enlightenment cannot be found by running away from delusion. Looking deeply into the nature of delusion, you touch enlightenment. In our store consciousness is a wonderful seed called mindful ness, the capacity to be aware of what is happening in the present moment. That seed may be weak, because we seldom water it. Gen erally, we do not go about our lives in a mindful way. We do not eat mindfully. We do not walk mindfully. We do not look at or speak to people mindfully. We live in forgetfulness. But always there is the opportunity to live our life fully. When we drink water, we can be aware that we are drinking water. When we walk, we can be aware that we are walking. Mindfulness is available to us in every moment.