Nose to the Ground by Yao Xiang Shakya

Posted by on December 4, 2016

Nose to the Ground

The spiritual life is for you and others. It’s not owned by anyone, it is for you and me and everyone else. It’s not a secret—not something hidden. It’s not meant to stay hidden. It is there to be found, right under your nose.

But you might have a big blockhead in the way of finding what is there.

You see…

Spiritual life is to forget yourself and to make the Beloved the center of your heart.

How do you forget the self and make the Beloved the center of your heart?
Study yourself…then…forget yourself…then…everything comes to awaken you.
Put your mind on things above. Don’t stray off.
Take off your bag of goods from your back and empty it.

Here is a wonderful story that makes it clear how we go after the scents and smells and shapes of the ego and stray rather than stay with the Beloved. It is the story of Meghiya, a young aspiring monk who was given the task of staying with the Beloved morning, noon and night. His job was to sit beside the Beloved and just hang out there. Hard to imagine his good fortune going sour, but this young monk, like most of us, are wobbly disciples who are easily duped by cravings and ignorance. You see Meghiya was with the Beloved right where he was ….BUT…he wanted to go down by the water where he thought it would be nicer.

We are Meghiya, not in the literal sense of sitting by the mangroves in robes, barefooted and bald, but in the spiritual sense of being given an opportunity to be with the Beloved morning, noon and night…BUT…we want to go and get something we think is nicer.

We are wobbly disciples easily duped by cravings and ignorance.

The Truth is that the Beloved is present within our being, but we, like Meghiya go wandering off after a little while in search of something better that we believe will satisfy our craving for holiness (wholeness). We wander away and when we do, we suffer.

Dukkha, the pali word for dissatisfaction (suffering) refers to the axle hole of a wheel on an ox-driven cart as not being even or well-fitted to the axle. And when it is not fitted properly the ride becomes bumpy and the bumpiness leads to samsara or wandering in search of something else to properly fit the hole so the axle fits and the ride is smooth.

When we feel out of whack and off kilter we begin to desire something to make the ride better. Instead of looking at the desire we go after something to satisfy the desire.

Instead of studying the self to forget the self, we forget that our desires blind us (ignorance) to our cravings. When we begin to see how we get lost in dukkha and wander (samsara) away in search of satisfaction, we need not get discouraged. The Beloved is there, we’ve not been abandoned, but we have wandered off. There is dukkha and samsara but not failure. We followed some scheme of fabrications and got lost, and need to come back.

Turning around and coming back is part of practice. And it requires effort and strong determination sometimes more than when you first began to practice.

It helps to have tasted the Truth of the Beloved even if it is a little morsel of the Truth. We remember the taste of sugar, something sweet like chocolate and can even begin to salivate when we think of delicious chocolate. It is the same with the Beloved. If you have tasted the Truth even a little bit and recall it then it will help you make the effort to return.

How long does it take?

It takes as long as it takes.

Don’t give up.

Keep your nose to the ground and study yourself…then…forget yourself…let everything come to awaken.

Good luck.

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