Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 01/07/2013

The Hidden Jewel

First things first I suppose: the second day of my aditthana went well and despite having to wait until almost 10pm before I could recite the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta I was glad that I was able to do so. I feel like choosing to make this practice part of my evening regiman was a good idea because I actually felt energized after the recitation despite the fact that it was 10:30 when I finished (and I haven’t felt energized let alone awake for as long as I can remember at that hour).

I was also able to make it to the Sunday night sitting and Dhamma talk which was excellent. The theme of the talk was on cultivating a love for the practice and was particularly poignant for me. Despite having let go most every hobby and interet that had no relation to the Dhamma I had not rally considered how I was conceiving of and holding my practice. In many ways, I was simply doing the practice by rote; hoping that, as a friend so aptly described it, I would just get it if I kept plugging away.

It has become ever more clear to me that I have long been lured by the idea of spiritual autopilot where I simply do this or that practice with enough unflinching dedication and the results will come. And, truth be told, this has definitely worked wonders for my seated meditation posture but it has done little for my mind and heart. One of the key differences in the Lord Buddha’s dispensation is precisely that things must be seen for what they are in order for the shackles of samsara to be loosened. There is not much room, in my own limited experience, for devotion-only or faith-alone approaches in the Dhamma-vinaya (which is not to say that I think these can be dispensed with for I find them incredibly important aspects of the path). 

So, how do you view your practice? Do you love doing it? Is it something that nourishes your life and gives you direction or is it an afterthought? These are the types of questions my teacher wants us to reflect upon and for good reason. Without such a timely reminder who knows for how long I could have gone without acknowledging just how much I love the practice. It is as if my teacher pointed out the hidden jewel sewed into the lining of my jacket and I am, as ever, deeply grateful. Bhavatu sabba mangalam!

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