Friday, January 30, 2009

I am not the Buddha

"I am not the Buddha."  I made that comment to my friend the Zen monk after telling her a little story about how I decided that I could only do family house guests for 4 or 5 days rather than a two week visit as requested.  The decision was made with a lot of care and consideration and contemplation.  I had to acknowledge my own limitations and my place on the path.  I knew the potential suffering that can come from hoping to act in ways, that are past where I am, if that makes any sense to you.  I sometimes wish I were more generous, compassionate, more tolerant, but there you have it.  While this does not stand against me making an effort to be these things, to aspire to higher ideals, I must be realistic of what I can pull off without getting myself in more trouble and ultimately creating more suffering and karma for all involved. It is a tricky business!  It is much more flattering to think I am kind, compassionate, generous and nice but truth is I am not always these things. Gasp!  ouch, the truth is a prickly customer sometimes!

I was reminded of the fact that "I am not a Buddha" today when I went to do my last little bit of business regarding the fender bender I was involved in the other day.  I had an appointment to see the government insurance company that determines liability.  As I readied myself to g to the appointment I could hear my self cherishing point of view that I was right....  Man, that is a hard one to let go of.  And during the interview I could hear that irritation rising in my voice as the agent questioned me in a confrontational manner.  In the end she decided I was not at fault.  I felt tired after the whole event and wished it had not stirred so much emotion in me.  I wished I could have been like the monk in the story who when wrongly accused of being the father of a young girls baby simply nods, saying "is that so?"  and accepts the baby to look after.  But alas here I am, little me, with all my stuff, attached to my opinions and point of view, easily roused from equanimity.

And while it is good to acknowledge the truth of where we are (how else can we change?)  I am learning  it is also important to cut ourselves a little slack, be kind to the vulnerable humans that we are.  It's okay to be where we are and it doesn't stand against the fact that as my teacher would say "we can do better."  I realized one thing I could do better here, was pay more attention.  I realized during the whole accident process I didn't pay enough attention to the details.  I wanted (attachment) it to be an amicable transaction so I was not as careful as I should have been.  My inclination toward "niceness" actually worked against me.  I needed to be a little more careful and vigilant.  

And always, everyday I find there is something for me to learn, something that helps me stretch further in the direction of wisdom and compassion.  So while it may not always be fun, it is always worthwhile.

This little mixed media is a contemporary take on a thanka with all the little Buddhas in their circles. It seems to go with the writing, the various sizes and colours of Buddhas speaking to our various places on the path.  

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