Sunday, June 19, 2011

Searching for Satori under a full moon

Amber Dorrian (Wisdom Quarterly)

A golden conclave of Buddhas, Chiang Mai, Thailand (

Full moon day in June, Poson. Sri Lankan Buddhist temple, Pasadena. On a quest for an epiphany, a Zen Satori. We gathered round, dressed in white. End to end, knee to knee, back to back, four of us -- Ashley, Pat, me, and Seven.

I could feel breaths expanding and sinking slowly. Soon we were in rhythm. Slower and more slowly. The islanders marveled. What were Americans doing her chanting in an ancient Buddhist language with them?

The night before, the city was alive with Afro-Funk music at Levitt Pavilion, Memorial Park Metro station. Within walking distance of the temple. And the sidewalk chalk festival was in full bloom. Blissed out, long haired, wearing linen as if we had just been pulled in from San Francisco.

Seven said it was as easy as breathing. All seven of us are Seven so we all agree. But Ashley explained that it's even easier than that. The nun Ayya Susila confirmed it:

"It's impossible, it cannot be that anyone now interested in meditation did not practice in a past life."

If it were not for that past habit, that past practice, they would not now -- in these sour times -- take up so lofty an aspiration. So it's as easy as remembering without thinking, but remembering in the body instead. O, it went like this. This feels right. I just let go, just breathe, just believe.

Maybe it is as easy as dropping doubt, trust and confidence that the Buddha knew and said what he knew. Practice is the highest form of veneration in Buddhism.

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