Photo by Edward Faulkner
A little more than two months ago, Jennifer Lauck and I began reciting the Heart Sutra Mantra (Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate bodhi svaha) for the people of Japan after the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power facility. The Dalai Lama asked people to pray the Heart Sutra for Japan, we decided to keep going until we had recited 100,000 mantra. Along the way, other people joined us and added their mantra. Yesterday, we reached 100,000 mantra.
I’ll be going back to my regular meditation practice now.
Thanks to everyone who took part. Many blessings to all.
It was the end of the pay period and when I got off work last night, there was barely enough time before Earth Hour to eat a quick supper and round up some candles and get them lit. Then it was time, and I turned off all the lights. I planned to spend the hour in sitting meditation for the well-being of the planet, but I wandered around in the dim candlelight, peering out my windows to see whether any other people on my street had turned off their lights. Two other houses had; everywhere else, porch lights were on and windows were lit up. But I knew the lights in downtown Portland were off and that the state capitol would be dark as well.
I sat down to meditate. The candles I’d lit were beautiful, and I got up again to light some incense. I was having trouble settling down–maybe a little chant would help me get focused. “Sachara Chara Para Purna, Shivoham, Shivoham…” and I got quiet at last.
It was my third Earth Hour. Every year, around the globe, more and more cities and countries join to put aside their conflicts and come together for that one hour in an alchemy of hope and unity. At the end of the hour, I didn’t turn the lights on right away. The candlelight was lovely and bathed my tiny house in a warm, cozy glow. Maybe I’ll light them again tonight and have another earth hour all by myself.
Prompted by Sunday Scribblings: Alchemy
I listened to Enkyo Roshi’s seventh dharma talk today as part of Tricycle Magazine’s Big Sit meditation challenge. I’m ready to make some changes, so I signed up to sit every day for 90 days instead of Lent this year and will be continuing after the 40 days of Lent are over. The weekly online talks are on the Genjokoan, written in 1233 by Dogen and included in the “Big Sit” issue of Tricycle so we can study it.
I started reading, and was almost ready to give up before I even started. This strange, paradoxical discourse is mostly incomprehensible to me though Roshi’s talks give me a hint—sort of. But every now and then there’s a paragraph that I just love, like today’s.
“Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.”
This I can understand; it’s like those rare moments when I’m taking a walk at night after a storm, seeing the moon and the whole sky reflected in the puddles. In that instant, everything comes together and I feel this vast interconnectedness. I love that part about the whole moon and the entire sky in a dewdrop.
Roshi said that there is another translation saying that the moon and sky are “nestled” in the drop of water, and that the moon lies in the heart of a beginning Zen student as well as in the heart of the Zen master. Yes, I thought, and in the heart of a renegade Catholic like me.
Last night was Earth Hour 2009. I finished my work shift at 7:30 and gathered up all the candles I had. I decided to meditate during the first half of the hour, so I put down my rug and sage-green Zafu cushion, lit all the candles, turned off the lights, and sat. Jilly the Corgi and Kieran the Schipperke lay down next to me, one on either side. It was a good sit, quiet and peaceful, and so beautiful with all the candles burning and no electric light. I realized I need to do this more often, not just once a year.
It was great to be united with the millions of people all over the globe who were observing Earth Hour, and also, I am part of Tricycle Magazine’s Big Sit meditation community, so although I live by myself, I never felt alone.
It was cold, quiet, and very soggy at the dog park this morning. Jilly wears herself out fetching Chuckit balls while Kieran, not interested in balls, gets down to the serious business of having a whiz on every single tree.
I’m hard at work on the third draft of my novel, and the current chapter has me remembering the 1970 Isla Vista riots all over again. It seems that there were actually three separate episodes with things being somewhat normal in between, but after so many years my memory has compressed it all into one long, scary siege that seemed like it would never end, which is how I wrote it. I’ve been away from the novel for while, and now that I’m going over it again, I see that there are a lot of things that need tweaking.
As soon as the weather gets dryer, I will be getting the camera out to take pictures all over Portland. I have a new one that I’m just learning to use, so that will be fun. And there’s gardening and yard work galore to be done; this promises to be a very busy year despite the work situation getting more and more precarious with each day. I will be on swing shift this coming week because the regular swing shift person will be on vacation.