The Dharma of the Fuzzy Glow in You! by Yao Xiang Shakya

Posted by on January 8, 2017

The Dharma of the Fuzzy Glow

The Birth of God Story. I will begin with a morsel of the well-known story of the birth of Jesus Christ. This morsel may at first be like a snack but much like the tapas from Spanish cuisine it is for spiritual connoisseurs a sophisticated delight. The morsel is packed with spiritual nourishment from the first taste to the last.

Many know it, the story of the birth of Christ. His pregnant mother and father were on their way to his father’s hometown in order to be counted in the Roman census. On their journey they found themselves in a situation where there was no room for them (keep these six words in mind). Following the news of no room for them meant the baby was to be born in a box, often called a manger (Greek: fàtni, φάτνῃ: Latin: praesepe) which is where the cattle get their feed, somewhere in what we today consider the Middle East. That’s it.

Let’s start by looking at the origin of the word, manger. It is as described, a box made of stone or wood used to feed cattle or horses. Stop for a moment and consider the symbolic meaning of this birthplace. Right from the beginning Jesus Christ is born in the place of food. Eureka! He was food right out of the oven (the womb) suggesting perhaps we are to eat him. And to take this further it suggests he is food for every sentient being, i.e., the cattle, the horses or for whatever livestock are present. This is a spiritual mouthful and a universal one to boot for our advantage.

He is an offering of food to be eaten; a brash beginning.

But wait a minute…how do we eat this baby, this food coming for all sentient beings.

Mothers know, especially mothers who breastfeed their babies. I once heard it put like this by a young mother with a newborn who was suckling at her breast. The mother was delighted and exclaimed, “I have never felt more like an animal, like an animal among animals feeding my baby.” She went onto explain there was an invisible connection between her body and the sound of her baby’s hungry cry. Even thinking about the baby or smelling the baby released the flow of milk. Mothers know what it means to be eaten and they know what it is to have the feeling of wanting to eat-up their newborn with kisses and gazing.

Is it possible this is how we eat God…the Dharma? The Dharma is to be eaten.

I’d say give it a try and find out by being mothering. Look for, listen for, smell for, touch for and think about your hunger within then set aside, like a good enough mother, your self-interest. It is very similar to physical hunger. The sensation of hunger arises from causes and conditions, mental fabrications begin to pop up like popcorn in the mind for something tasty, a certain pleasing aroma; we start to look around for food, the thing that will satiate the hunger for the moment and begin to make something to eat. We arrange it, serve it and eat it. Spiritual hunger is similar but we often miss it because we don’t sense the hunger we are feeling as being spiritual. This mistake lands us in looking for the manger food in all the wrong places much like our dogs sometimes eat cardboard or tissues out of the trash. Good mothering pauses and considers what is happening when the hunger arises and makes an effort to provide good edible food.


I understand. Let’s move further backward in the origin of the word manger to the word praesepe which is traced back to the 14th Middle English from the Middle French maingeure as a derivative of mangier which means to eat. Latin: manducare to chew, eat. And then in 16th century it was translated in Latin to praesepe.[1]

The word praesepe, a descendant of the word manger became a word about the heavens and refers to the brightest part of the constellation Cancer, called Praesaepe.[2] The brightest part of this constellation, however, is dim and is seen as a fuzzy glow in the night sky in the Northern hemisphere. If it was dimmer than usual, it meant stormy weather ahead. Keep this part in mind…when the fuzzy glow gets dimmer it means trouble. There is even a poem about it:

“If Praesaepe is not visible in a clear sky it is a presage of a violent storm;”…[T]he Greek astronomer Aratus, circa 270 B.C., in the Diosemeia (the Prognostica) wrote:

A murky Manger with both stars
Shining unaltered is a sign of rain.
If while the northern Ass is dimmed

By vaporous shroud, he of the south gleam radiant,
Expect a south wind: the vaporous shroud and radiance
Exchanging stars harbinger Boreas. [3]

Let’s put all of this together.

God is born in a food trough for livestock suggesting he came as food for all beings, he is to be eaten and chewed up as that is what is done with the stuff in a manger. The Dharma is for all sentient beings, is offered to all as food. And we might consider that we are connected to him, to the Dharma in an invisible way much like a mother is connected to an infant, something new is born within us over and over again and we eat it up. We make the connection through our sense doors similar to being mothering; a very good approach to eating what is spiritually nourishing. When hunger arises look for, listen for, sniff for, touch for and think about the fuzzy glow within. It is the invisible connection of the fuzzy glow of light within ourselves that needs to be attended to with eyes, ears, nose, taste, touch, and mental content helping us stay connected to the fuzzy glow and respond as a mother to it. But there are many times we drift off, get distracted, get self-involved, fall in a hole of self-pity and hurt and then the fuzzy glow grows dim and the light gets murky and we find ourselves in trouble.

Many times we enter what I like to call waa waa waa mind. This is a baby in trouble and a difficult baby to console. The light is dimmer and the baby cries. The waa waa waa mind is narrow and concrete, crying for something other than the food that is nourishing. When in this waa waa state we are unable to mother ourselves or others and the invisible connection with the fuzzy glow dims. We lose sight of the Dharma of the fuzzy glow within. Our ability to look for, listen for, smell for, touch for, taste for and think is overshadowed by our crying. We look in the wrong place for the food to ease our hunger.

The waa waa baby looks outward to the external world rather than into the box within for the invisible connection to the fuzzy glow. Worse, the waa waa baby gives birth to more and more pride and anger.

When we get this feeling, this waa waa feeling of a baby that gets hurt, feels unwanted STOP! And reread the well-known story of the birth of God. Take a step back and remember what a mother does…looks, listens, sniffs, touches, salivates and thinks about what the hunger is. The mother removes the obstacles, removes the cardboard food, the dirty tissues from the trash, and cleans the baby up.

There have been plenty of times when I have felt unwelcomed, of not belonging which is an uncomfortable feeling but when I look to, listen to, smell the, taste the, touch the and think about the Dharma of the fuzzy glow I don’t get sick from it. The unwanted, unwelcoming encounter comes laden with labels, judgments and discrimination, which are full of sickness. When I look at taking care of the Dharma of the fuzzy glow within, the invisible light does not get dimmer, it gets brighter. And I don’t get sick. I use the sense doors and let go of wanting anything to be different. From experience I am aware of how painful the waa waa mind is and I know the waa waa mind begins with hunger. I STOP! the hunger for the cardboard, tissue trash by looking, touching, tasting and seeing if it is edible.

It requires attention to what I am eating. How I respond to what is available to eat depends on what I see, hear, taste, touch, smell and contemplate much like looking in the fridge for something to eat. I might look at it, smell it, and even taste it before I decide to eat it or throw it away. I restrain myself from eating spoiled food, food I know that will make me sick. Many times in spiritual work this food comes in the form of mental formations from the past, the future or the external conditions. Often comparisons, judgments, condemnations, conclusions, and seemingly limitless opinions about others are what make me sick. It is simply trashy food.

Consider the old story of the birth of God, not with dead eyes, but with eyes looking for the fuzzy glow not in a stone or wooden box, but in your living manger which is nourishing all living beings and is a heaven’s light.

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