LOOKING OUT, LOOKING IN
For most of us, the threshold between years is like Janus, the Roman’s two-headed protector-god of the entry-way, an experience of looking out and looking in. We reflect on what we have done, and not done, how we have changed and not changed, and what possibilities lie before us. A fine symbol for this time of year is Akashaloka, the Realm of Infinite Possibilities, the name for our mini-temple, here at the Old Schoolhouse . This reminds us that, regardless of what has happened in the past twelve months, we are entering something new, something pregnant with unimaginable possibilities.
It may feel uneasy to allow such breadth of possibility, yet when we look at our lives of the past year - sudden deaths, locations to new homes and tragic-comic events in our public sphere - possibilities are infinite indeed.
Our Dharma faith is characterized by an assumption that our lives are nested within and flowing along with the activity of the Buddhas. This assumption likewise presumes that outcomes are not within our control, but are rather the fulfillment of the Buddha vows. Therefore, as we prepare for the coming year, we need not become obsessed with specific accomplishments or goals, but rather sustain our commitment to the aspirations of wholesome living that constitute our practice.
This is not to promote a throwing up of hands and “let go and let God”, as they say in A.A. We cannot sidestep our own responsibilities for action. Our faith is directed at awakening and this is not about waiting by the sidelines. We don’t cause awakening, ours or anyone’s, this is prideful and mis-informed. We are instead called to harmonize our actions and choices with the activity of the Buddhas, because we already and always are the dynamic and unfolding activity of the Buddhas. When, from the perspective of this threshold, we cast our eyes down the decreasingly clear vista of 2014, we ask ourselves how and what will this year be. We are invited to do so from the Dharma perspective of infinite possibilities; to direct ourselves at what actions and intentions will fulfill the commitment to all sentient beings.
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu