Not In This, Not In That

The beauty of prayer is not in the candle.
It is a prayer in the beauty of your heart when you approach the candle to light it.

It is not the singing bowl that sits Zazen,
It is the clarity of Zazen that leaves the sound to ring for so long.

Your steps can illuminate your life and that of others
Like the candle in the eyes of the believer.
Words can shine in the ears and your gestures draw beauty in the air,
As the vibrations of the bowl, incense prayer and the world.
This is the Buddha’s garment,
Kesa on the shoulder.

©FJ Dec 2021
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6 commentaires

  1. I find this intriguing, surprising, maybe a little perplexing.
    Of course, we are of different backgrounds. The symbolism with which we, inevitably, grapple (if only to dismiss) is, therefore, different.
    Prayer, assuming the existence of deity (and it is not my purpose to argue that point; it is merely an observation), seems to me to be nothing more than the praying person’s side of a conversation.
    Seen that way, ritual words and actions are meaningless. It is what is needed to be said that is of importance.
    Candles, bowls, all mean nothing. In fact, they seem to me to be more a matter of magic than of prayer. A focus for concentration, a means to fix the attention and the will.
    They are meaningless in that context, also, but, insofar as they have a use, it is for those who regard them as important in such an exercise.
    Being the pirate in the leaking boat that I have seen you describe yourself to be… Why do candles and bowls have any part in prayer for you?
    How significant is ritual as part of your conscious practice?
    Mind, I have seen prayer described as a mode or living. I have some sympathy with what the person who said that was trying to describe. But such items strike me as irrelevant in that instance as well.
    If any of this strikes too personal a chord, feel free to ignore, or to reply less publicly.

    Aimé par 1 personne

    1. Hello, Simon,

      As often, I’m having a hard time to answer your comment as I don’t have the impression we’re saying anything different, which makes my answers closer to an echo.
      There are several levels of perception.

      On the one hand, ritual tools (by this I mean candles and incense sticks, mostly, which is, compared to the array of available items, hardcore minimalism…) ar nothing else than a prop, an accessory, a support form helping a restless mind zeroing in on…something unlikely to send it off for another hectic ride.

      On another hand, the presence of tools also provide a context in which our deeper nature may express itself.
      They therefore become teaching material, unfurling wisdom before our very eyes (candles), ear (bowl), nose (incense), touch (hands as we hold them) and contribute to unifying our inner and outer worlds…

      On a deeper level, this Nature cannot not express itself, wisdom never ceases to pearl in every single bit of reality, and the presence of ritual props or the absence thereof does not change anything.

      Hence, the various possibilities of reading the initial post.
      Depending on what level I find myself in as I read these lines, I’d say the understanding varies.

      I am not sure I am addressing the intention in your comment…

      I guess the boat finally drowned and so did the pirate.
      Luckily I am still there to type those words.
      They may just as well have been an illusion, or yet another fake identity waiting to let go off.
      Or maybe they’ll pop up, every now and then when the wilderness of the Soul will ask to be restored.

      Aimé par 1 personne

  2. This is the perplexity, I think. We seem to have similar ideas, but, perhaps,with nuances that are unclear even to ourselves, and still you reference (though whether you use is another matter) these props.

    I have sought to disassociate myself from props and find, once they are realised as such, they become mere ornaments. The breath that one must breathe and the darkness behind one’s eyelids become the even greater minimalism.

    Hence, I was wondering at your usage and purpose thereof, and whether the meaningless nature of these things becomes intrusive for you if you seek to use them.

    Symbols, ultimately, are all they are; as such, their meaning is only what they are given and for as long as that gift is maintained. So why bother with them at all?

    Aimé par 1 personne

    1. Maybe because it keeps me from entering a rejection pattern, which would make thinks even worse, as it is a harder form of attachment to cut off.
      (Too rhetorical an argument… I know)

      Still, as much as words can hardly be circumvented, so do such props,
      The ultimate form of which remains our body.
      Joined hands,
      Bent back
      Floor touching forehead.

      Closed eyelids…

      Aimé par 1 personne

  3. I was more alluding to falling awake.

    (Thanks for making me laugh…I pictured something between a struggling yoga practitioner and an old dog.)


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