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Compassion

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Mother of Pity,
Grant me, I pray,
One dewdrop from thy willow spray,
And in the double lotus keep
My hidden heart asleep.

~Poem taken from the tomb of an unknown woman, in the Fu Kiu mountain district of So-Chau in the Province of Kiangsu. The date of the poem is many centuries old.

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The American concept of enlightenment is full of foolishness. Most Americans think enlightenment is something like sainthood combined with a get out of jail free card. (I’m an American, so yes, I am allowed to say this.) The Buddhist concept is just as bad, equating enlightenment with nirvana. Nothing could be further from the truth. Concepts! They are NOT reality! As Fayan said, “It is not possible to fathom the intention of the words or acts of the enlightened by indulging in fantasy.”

Enlightenment brings its own challenges. You have knowledge many people don’t know they have. In other words you know you are enlightened and so is everyone else, but they don’t know they are enlightened. They are still trapped. They have a lot of fear. They take almost everything very personally.

Fortunately nature abhors a vacuum, and the psyche is no different. All the energy once spent in defense and fearfulness is freed. . . and can flow naturally into creativity and compassion. This is how enlightened people are able to accomplish such (sometimes) seemingly miraculous things. There is really nothing mystical about it. It bubbles out like water from a spring. You remember your own struggles when you were trapped, how afraid and defensive you were – – so you tend to go easy, and to want to help.

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© Babaloo Bonzai and Babaloo Bonzai’s Zen Soup, 2010.

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