The Buddha teaches of two dimensions, the historical and the ultimate. The historical is where we live 'subject to being and nonbeing' but we also connect with the ultimate dimension that of reality, in which there is no being and nonbeing. It is 'not subject to notions of space and time, birth and death, coming and going'. The lovely example of this is that in being a wave the wave also knows it is water - 'while living a life of a wave in the historical dimension, we realise that we are also water and live the life of water. This is the essence of the practice. Because if you know your true nature of no coming, no going, no being, no nonbeing, no birth, no death, then you will have no fear and can dwell in the ultimate dimension, nirvana, right here and now. You don't have to die in order to reach nirvana. When you dwell in your true nature, you are already dwelling in nirvana'. (Thich Nhat Hanh, Peaceful Action, Open Heart: 31-33).
For me this means that the ordinary day-to-day life can become sacred the more we are in touch with the ultimate dimension. This is getting in touch with what lies behind the forms and names of everyday life.
Seeing myself in new spring shoots,
brown and dried seed-husks
leftover from autumn,
purple croci resiliently shining
on slender stems,
mud and stone
aeons in forming
after this body has gone,
budding cherry tree
reminding of another cycle
of growth and decay
and the approach of my daughter's birthday.
The historical and the ultimate intertwining,
weaving through one another until
they cannot be unpicked.
Growth and decay in the historical,
does not exist in the ultimate.
I am the shoot
the earth bed nurturing and feeding
© 3 Mar 2014