International Bodhi Day

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It is interesting that the concept LIGHT or enLIGHTenment should come with expansion of consciousness. The expansion is an entering into the awareness that TRUTH is Light. If a Spiritual Treatment could be seen (and a SMT simply means the unifying with Good) it would be seen as a pathway of light (SOM p. 345/3). The challenge around doing the kind of work we are doing in this “dark time” of the year, which of course is a metaphor the dark times in our life, is that it is DARK! That’s why you are bringing a lamp into a darkened room. Or are you?

What is happening in your life doesn’t belong to you and certainly not only to you. It is the dance of conditions and as such is illusion. This is one of those many points where Buddhism and Science of the Mind meet. It is for that reason that Ernest Holmes told us to turn completely away from condition. He says on p. 316 of the textbook

The mental and spiritual Practitioner must turn completely from the condition as it is and must CONTEMPLATE (one of my favourite words!) it as it ought to be … never as it is.

This goes for everything in our lives. “As it ought be” means as it is in Reality. It is said that as the Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree in meditation all of the armies of Mara (illusion) were unleashed upon him, ALL of the armies, not just global warming and economic crises, pandemics and tsunamis, but your ongoing feud with your family member, the loss of your pet, the recent diagnosis, EVERYTHING! He was able to sit through it all not easily but successfully because he carried the lamp of awareness within. This is international Bodhi Day. It is the day when the entire Buddhist world all 360 million of them commemorate the day the Buddha became enlightened only AFTER he successfully defeated the armies of illusion; after he turned completely away from condition. Sometimes I think we are so goal oriented in our desire for enlightenment that we forget there is a goal before enlightenment. Our first goal must be to not get distracted by illusion. Enlightenment is the automatic payoff. You don’t have to chase after that!

The practical precepts whether we are talking about the Buddha, Ernest Holmes or the Jesuit philosopher/theologian Bernard Lonergan are the same: be attentive, be intelligent, be reasonable, be responsible. That is how we are to act in the world; this is the lamp we bring to the darkness; these are the precepts which must guide us. Notice the first precept is to be attentive; to see what is and not what appears to be. EVERY interaction we have with anyone or anything must be to remain in the stillness of knowing what is and only then question what is in this condition for me. An old friend asked me recently, “Rev T do you always live by these precepts?” “Hell no!” was my answer but I sure try and the fact that I can notice when I’m not living by them is evidence that I am making some progress on this road to holiness. I’ll give you a clue from my own life. When you’ve stopped living by nothing outside of me needs to change so I can be happy, you’re wandering around in the dark. Its time to light your lamp and bring it into the darkness of conditioned reality. I look forward to joining you on Sunday for a full exploration of the precepts and a celebration of Bodhi Day. Oh! By the way, it’s also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. What does that have to do with anything? See you Sunday and you’ll find out.

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