Monday, May 14, 2007
Things that go on in the city:
Yesterday, as I opened my meditation, I saw two Buddhas, different versions of the Master Teacher. I noted that the second had the flat cap adorned with the "snail motif" of tradition, and that he was somewhat plumper, though he was not the fat Buddha of certain depictions. I wondered why two such images came to mind, and then remembered that, in addition to the thongka on my living room wall, I also had a small China Buddha in the kitchen, one which had belonged to my mother (who was drawn to the mystery of the Buddha, though she never followed it up through any formal study.) Then I recalled that it was Mother's Day, and I wondered if that was why the "second Buddha" had come to mind.
The sun was out, so I decided to go on the bus to Golden Gate Park to view the rhododendrons, now in full bloom. As I waited at one of my stops, I gazed into the side window of a shoe store, and there, before me, in the midst of the items on display, were two metal Buddhas and a Ganesha. I took the above picture of this rather unusual site. And as you can see, one Buddha wore the flat cap and was a bit plumper than the other.
Then, this morning, as I began practice, it was Ganesha who appeared to my inner eye. It was, I realized, the first time any teacher other than human had appeared to me. And, as I watched this inner image, I heard him trumpet (again, an inner rather than an outer sound.) Ganesha's bugle is a sign of transition or change, for Ganesha is a threshold god.
Now, the appearance of Ganesha might be explained by my having seen the sculpture in the window, but I saw the inner Buddhas before I saw the sculptures. Synchronicity?
Today, I enjoyed a delightful lunch conversation with a new friend who has developed a remarkable multimedia presentation of Dante's Inferno, primarily for use in schools. We discussed the many realms of Dante's circles of the condemned, and remarked how each level of malefactors (hypocrites, usurers, liars, and such) has its counterpart in today's world. We wondered if people were so cut off from their inner feelings and so lacking in love that they lost their moral center, and became enemies of the "good society." (Witness the scandals coming to light today.)
Well, as I walked home, I experienced a vivid example of someone cut off from love. A city "weirdo" began to harass me verbally (after giving me a poke in the ribs as we waited for the light to change.) He even stood in front of me blocking my way.
Finally three sweet high school students came by (two Buddhas and a Ganesha?) and I asked if they would escort me to my door (not very far away.) They were glad to help and I arrived home safely. But I realized how fragile is the delicate fabric of safety and civil order which we rely on,and how easily such trust is challenged. And I thought of all those in our world are are constantly at risk, who suffer perpetual loss and deprivation, and are the victims of the many dislocations in our world.
May we all be bathed in light and loving protection!