The Dove by Yao Xiang Shakya

Posted by on April 22, 2017

Bird Peace Yao Xiang Shakya

It is spring. The air is dust free from all the rain. The sky hovers with the mirage of blue light. Every morning I let the dogs out, first old Bear then our sleepy head, Harry. They run into the morning along the sides of the fence. Near the deck I see two doves. “A pair.” I think. I watch them shimmie and waddle through the cedar chips for food. It’s unusual to see doves now. Many birds died off or are so small in number none of them seem to make it to our back yard. Doves and hummingbirds are among those who have dwindled away.

For more than a week I saw the pair on the ground unphased by Bear and Harry’s morning run. But this week I noticed one of them along the top of the fence by the house walking back and forth, back and forth on the fence as if he or she were a guard bird blowing a bugle of cooing. It cooed and cooed and cooed. Marched and marched and turned and marched again.

Relentless in the march, unceasing in the cooing.

I didn’ think too much of it for the first few hours but when it seemed to continue all day and into the next day I realized it was calling for its mate. In fact it was doing a mating dance at the end of each round of the march. It dipped and in a showy display of white fanned its spiky feathers. But soon….the cooing changed from a love song to a lament as it alternated the cooing from the top of the fence to a cry from the top of a tree. Its mate was not coming….the agony was evident.

Today there is no marching, no cooing. The fence is empty. “This is the play of God.” I think. Both ignorance and bondage naturally accompany the misery and attainment of liberation. Salvation comes with anguish, always. To be unattached to the pleasure of the pair of singing doves and the pain of their sorrowful loss is renunciation.

When the world is known as it is, impermanent, when the world is known to always offer pain and pleasure, letting go is known as wisdom. But….you say….what is one to do?

Until you know the world is impermanent, until you know the world always offers pain and pleasure, practice letting go….

Begin with the body. Move to the mind. Let yourself dissolve.  To restrain the sense doors is the beginning of wisdom.

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