Saturday, November 19, 2005

How it Is

A bend noir on a field of argent -- the shadow of a branch thrown by the moon across the skylight. A sleepless night, a moon-filled room.

Last night I lit a candle in a little glass cradle, and shook out the match. I held my breath and the candle very still. The flame dwindled to a tiny drip of blue light, and trembled there. Then it grew slowly to a blue pearl, and a sweat of wax gathered at the base of the wick. I breathed again, and set the candle in its place in front of his picture. Bokar Rinpoche, in his glasses and his robes, smiled past me.

I recalled the story, told to me third-hand, of how once in India he uexpectedly gave "pointing out" instructions to a breathless handful of Westerners.

This was real Dharma, the nature of their own minds revealed in a lightning-flash, a different insight revealed to each of them, a new world opened by a great abbot and meditation master.

They begged him, so reluctantly he came again the next day, and, somewhat unwillingly, gave the teachings again. The magic was gone. The words fell flat. The way was closed.

He rose to go. Pausing at the door, he turned, and said sadly, "You see how it is."

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