sagehood is an empty name.
There is no special truth but this radiant
spiritual openness, unobstructed and free.
It is not attained by adornment
arrive at consummate skill in means;
they are always concerned with the welfare of all
sentient beings, they do not reject the realm of common
ignorance, do not seek individual escape, do not cling to their own
happiness. They only strive to edify and liberate others; they are
able to enter and exit meditations and liberations, and have
attained mastery of all concentrations. They come
and go in birth and death as though
roaming through a park,
never getting sick
may live in the palace
of demons or may be celestial beings —
they manifest their bodies in all realms of life.
They may become mendicants in non-buddhist groups,
yet they always avoid false views…They may appear as beautiful
women, intelligent and talented, foremost in the world…Though they
show attainment of true enlightenment moment to moment, still
they do not stop the practice of bodhisattvas. This is their
fourth unique quality, the ultimate consummation
of skill in means without relying
on the teaching of
seek a Buddha,
don’t seek a teaching,
don’t seek a community.
Don’t seek virtue, knowledge,
intellectual understanding, and
so on. When feelings of defilement
and purity are ended, still don’t hold
to this non-seeking and consider it right.
Don’t dwell at the point of ending, and
don’t long for heavens or fear hells.
When you are unhindered by
bondage or freedom, then
this is called liberation
of mind and body in
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes