Dharma Glimpse by Barbara
It was around 3 am and I was wide awake again, on full alert, for the 3rd night running One of my anxieties being that I was returning to a familiar pattern of insomnia that had plagued me in bouts since I was a teenager. I tried a new strategy; imagining that I was on a walk. But I was barely in the woods when up popped another worry and I was off chasing it and escalating anxieties. After a while I decided to get up and do something useful. The house was bitterly cold but I returned from downstairs with a hot drink, water bottle and December Fan, by Manshi Kiyozawa, the book we are studying in our book group.
I groaned inwardly at the title of a new chapter. My Religious Conviction. I was sceptical and had adamantly denied having any religious conviction despite having assiduously meditated for over 15 years. I longingly cast eyes on my new novel, but began reading the chapter.
Kiyozawa wrote ‘Religious conviction refers to the mind that trusts Tathagata.” In his mind they refer to one and the same reality, not two different things.
Oh dear, is this like the Holy Trinity? I thought.
He asks. ‘What is my religious conviction? It is to trust Tathagata.’
And, ‘What is the Tathagata that I trust? It is the fundamental reality underlying my existence.’ What a lot to digest, I thought, especially at 3 o’clock in the morning.
As I continued reading, I became increasingly immersed in his reasoning.
Firstly, that if we trust in Tathagata we are relieved of distress and suffering. Therefore, there can be no room for my anxieties; my what if’s and should haves and if only I’d done this or that. These benefits only follow if there is trust.
Secondly, after much searching within himself, Kiyozawa reaches the conclusion that our intellect is limited and that the meaning of life is inscrutable. He entrusts all matters to Tathagata being aware of his own total ignorance, the most essential point of his religious conviction.
Thirdly, he emphasises that his religious conviction is the fundamental reality in which he cannot help but trust.
Captivated by now in the whole chapter of Kiyozawa’s humane reasoning, he writes that Tathagata’s Infinite Compassion, Infinite Wisdom and Infinite Power is limitless.
I thought deeply as I reread and mulled over sections. It made real sense and was so sensitively written, allowing us into his thoughts and struggles. But I was tired now and perhaps it was time to let go of my own worn-out defences over religious conviction and consciously trust in Tathagata.
I turned off the lamp, snuggled under my duvet and ,with a feeling of diving into the unknown, felt great calm as I sank into a deep sleep.
To receive our Dharma Glimpses straight into your inbox (once every two weeks) sign up here.