This week we will be exploring the 10th oxherding story. This final story is about letting go of everything and living an ordinary life in awareness. You are now free to participate in the life and death of life without all the pretentiousness and guardedness. We can be exactly what we are – human beings.
I believe this 10th story shows us what is possible with practice. The picture and prose generally show the oxherder walking along a path or interacting with another person. The oxherder is not retreating from the world, he or she is engaged with the world through deep awareness. When we live our lives out of awareness we are not trying to close ourselves off from the world or worldly things. We allow our awareness to support us in engaging with the world. This awareness then enables us to see the extraordinariness of everything and we learn to live in the radiance of dharma.
We no longer need the dharma to fix us nor the world around us. We don’t need the dharma to make everything nice, peaceful and beautiful. We can feel peace even in difficulty. We can feel joy in sadness, happiness in anger, tranquility in excitement, etc. We began to realize that liberation abides in the complexity of existence and oh what a complexity this human life can be.
Tomorrow is my last night with you for awhile. I am leaving for a 2 month retreat at Spirit Rock early Saturday morning. Several sangha members will be taking turns exploring the Ten Paramis (Perfections) while I’m gone. I look forward to seeing you all in April.
With a deep bow…