This delicious rock is from the beautiful Quadra Island and reminded me of an abstract painting lying there on the beach. How could I not bring it home? How could I not share it with you? I could say something like "the Dharma rocks" but you won't catch me saying anything so foolish and age inappropriate as that, even if it does.
And if I were to use this photo as a jumping off point for writing about the Dharma I would refer back the solid nature of that rock, how it is such a good solid foundation to rest things on. And from my earliest encounters with my Zen teacher I found that practice and the Dharma brought sanity to my life and gave me a foundation on which to make wiser, more wholesome choices in my daily life. Not that I could always do it, not that I could always get it right, but the Dharma helped me point myself in that direction. Dharma as bow, me as arrow. As time went on I came to have a first hand understanding about the suffering that leads to the end of suffering, instead of the suffering that leads to more suffering. I could work with my life, now that was exciting stuff.
In my previous incarnation as a Dharma dabbler I felt battered about by life, the winds and waves of human interaction and emotions. It made me crazy sometimes and I didn't understand why. Why does this happen to me? What am I doing wrong? Trekking the peaks and valleys of daily life just tired me out and puzzled me. But the Dharma made the crazy, broken puzzle I lived in make sense. It was a place to rest my longings and frustrations, a place of great logic and wisdom. Suddenly the fuzzy bits started coming into focus.
I can no longer imagine how I lived my life without the Dharma to help me through the narrow spots, over the rapids, around the sharp broken bottles of life. How do you work with your anger without the Dharma? How do you understand the strange things (sometimes unkind things) that people do? How do you have cancer without the Dharma? How do you become kinder without the Dharma? How do you learn to plunge in and savour fleeting chats with strangers without the Dharma?
And here is a wonderful quote from the Dhammapada that reminds me that the Dharma is like a sumptuous piece of cheesecake or chocolate cake, meant to be shared:
The gift of Dharma excels all other gifts.
The flavor of Dharma excels all other flavors
The pleasure of the Dharma excels all other pleasures.
One who has destroyed craving overcomes all sorrow.
Pass it on.
Pass it on.