Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Making a Dharma Room

It is a small group. For the most part, it's the same couple of fellows twice a week, with other familiar faces we see less often, more intermittent visitors. We light the incense, chant a bit (a brief puja that we perform before sitting), and then sit. It's not interesting to watch.

It is not an "experience." Those seeking a "wonderful experience" are usually disappointed at first. When you want a coke, water isn't interesting. After a while, though, water sure tastes good and takes care of what we need -- and that is plenty interesting.

The dharma room, located in the second floor of the garage building, is very slowly undergoing transformation. There are these old, cheap panels someone nailed to the rafters years ago. No insulation. It's all getting stripped to the rafters so we can run an outlet and some track lighting, insulate, and finish the room. There is quite a bit of dust, recalling jokes about the Sixth Patriarch ("Where can dust alight? Cough. Cough."). I work in brief shifts, frequently moving the provisional altar around so the room can be cleaned up in time for practice.

Can't do it all at once. So the work advances at its own pace. When it's time for puja, sweep up, put on robes, chant the homage. When it's time to sit, plunk down. One thing at a time.

Fixing the world, put it down. Working on one's life, put it down. Spreading the dharma, put it down. Enlightenment, put it down. Om nam, the idea of cleaning the universe, put it down.

If you strip away every last desire, even the bodhisattva ideal of helping all beings, what would we observe in your relations with others?

If you strip away every last wonderful purpose, what will you then find yourself doing?

1 comment:

Lorianne said...

If I strip away every last wonderful purpose, I will find myself sitting here, reading your wonderful post.

I love that picture of your Buddha statue meditating quite happily with a patch of unfinished ceiling behind him. I hope you're taking pictures of the work-in-progress. It would make a wonderful slideshow.