Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seeing Me, Seeing the Way

"Whether you can see the Buddha or not depends on you, on the state of your being." --Thich Nhat Hanh

Writing in Living Buddha, Living Christ Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh recalls the adage that says "to encounter a true master is said to be worth a century of studying" of reading, of writing. Because in such a person we encounter a witness, "a living example of enlightenment. How can we encounter Jesus or the Buddha? It depends upon us." Many have looked squarely into the eyes of a Jesus or a Buddha and not seen anything, were not at the moment capable of the experience to see anything. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta founded her works of mercy and charity upon this very point.

She served the poorest of the poor; of her faith-filled conviction, that in touching the broken bodies of the poor, she was touching the body of Christ; it was for Jesus himself, hidden under the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor. Recognizing the Christ in everyone, she ministered with wholehearted devotion, expressing the delicacy of her love. Thus, in a total gift of herself to God and neighbor,

Mother Teresa found her greatest fulfillment. She wanted to remind all of the value and dignity of each of God's children; thus was Mother Teresa, as she said, "bringing souls to God, and God to souls," always remembering holiness of all; her ministry was devoted to seeing, to seeing the Way.

In another story Thich Nhat Hanh recounts that there once was a man in such a hurry to see the Buddha that he neglected a woman in dire need whom he encountered along the way. Arriving at the Buddha's monastery, he saw nothing. This tale repeats in the world many times since.

Says Thich Nhat Hanh, " whether you can see the Buddha or not depends upon you, on the state of your being." "I am understanding, I am love." It is not enough to simply feel love, to simply think about love. We, who practice, who seek the way, are called to be that love, to act that love. "Like many great humans, the Buddha had a hallowed [blessed] presence. When we see such persons, we feel peace, love and strength in them, and also in ourselves." Our courage to move forward is summoned.
There is an old Chinese proverb Nhat Hanh quotes: "When a sage is born, the river water becomes clearer and the mountain plants and trees are greener." When in their presence, one feels the ambience, a sense of peace, of light. Even if you did not recognize the sage, your proximity would gain all the greater light; your understanding the greater than by words alone.

No comments: