DEER PARK SERMON DAY
This weekend, July 12-13, is the international celebration of Dhamma Day (Asalha Puja). Dhamma Day commemorates the "turning of the wheel of the Dharma" - the Buddha's first sermon - at the Sarnath Deer Park time. It was during this address that he first enunciated the Eight Steps to Satisfaction , what we consider to be the central instructional teaching of the Dharma. It presented eight activities in three categories which together form the path to complete awareness. (Read the steps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path ).
Coincidentally, this is one of the few “super moons” of the year. This is when the moon is closest to the earth, so the full moon appears extra large in the sky. (Read more here: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/insider-insights/articles/a-trio-of-super-moons-grace-our-summer-skies/31491/ ).
Since moving to our new urban home, we are struck by how few people we see in our neighbourhood who actually spend time out of doors, on their decks or in parks. I expect most of them are staring at screens, rather than the sky. It’s a sign of the degeneration of our relationship with the natural world that we have lost the rhythms of the sky and seasons. We check the weather websites rather than smelling the air or feeling the shifts in air pressure or watching the trees. Our Dharma grandfather, Shaka-sama, when he stood before the gathered disciples in the Deer Park and spoke of wholesome activity, urged us to practice full and complete mindfulness. This means experiencing things directly, as they are, rather than in a mediated - literally media-ted - fashion. We are beings of flesh and blood, sprung from earth and sky, not images on a screen.
in the Dharma,
om namu amida butsu