A Dharma Glimpse by Fi
One of the things I love about my home town is how close we are to the hills. When I have a day to myself I love to pack some food and drink in my rucksack and spend a whole day walking them slowly all on my own, just existing in the present moment. When I do this, I feel absorbed in nature and very conscious of the Buddha.
A few years ago, on a summer’s day, I set off to do just that. But on the day I’d made my plans, an unexpected fog had closed in on the hills.
I felt cheated and irritated. Where was the wide open vista around me which I always found so moving? How could I immerse myself in the profound and sacred nature of the landscape when I could barely see more than a few metres of it at any one time?
But as I walked along the familiar path, I began to notice different things. Instead of the whole landscape being revealed to me all at once, I was encountering it in what felt like a series of rooms that the fog had created. I was forced to slow not just my pace but my perception and really appreciate what I encountered at each step instead of having my eyes on the horizon.
At this point I had to chuckle at my foolish nature and admit that my attachment to the sort of day I had planned to have was getting in the way of enjoying the day I was going to have. Instead of the majestic spaciousness of the hills and the far reaching land on either side, I was being invited to rejoice in the smaller and more immediate things. The way the trees were melting towards me out of the mist like an Impressionist painting. The eerie way the spider webs were hung with mist droplets. The way the mist changed the way sound travels, making the journey through the landscape seem more intimate. The drops of moisture that hung all over the leaves and twigs like jewels, bringing to mind some descriptions of the Pureland.
In the end, I still had a beautiful and healing experience walking the hills that day. There were several lessons I could have taken away from it: the self-sabotaging nature of attachment, my Bombu nature, or the impermanence of both good and bad weather. But what I felt most in my heart at the end of that day was trust. Trust that my personal meditative walks will always bring me healing provided I don’t let my preconceptions get in the way. Trust that the sun was still there beyond the fog just as we trust that Amida Buddha is there even when the metaphorical clouds of delusion get in the way.
Namo Amida Bu.