tangle in the embrace

We go into the darkness, we seek initiation, in order to know directly how the roots of all beings are tied together: how we are related to all things, how this relationship expresses itself in terms of interdependence, and finally how all phenomena abide within one another.  Yes, the roots of all living things are tied together.  Deep in the ground of being, they tangle and embrace.

Roshi Joan Halifax

Going into that darkness, I am aware of the part of me who is Mara, the illusion of who I am.  She challenges my right to be where I am, on the cushion, in my life.  She challenges my right to know who I am – the one who knows me by heart*.  It’s often a secret and silent struggle to assert my birthright.  There is a saying by Thich Nhat Hanh that I printed and laminated: Who you are not is the illusion of who you are.

To shatter the illusion, I bring this struggle into the open, into the visual field of Others.  Who I am is reflected in relationship but is not illusory.

I end this week of practice by touching the earth, witnessed by the Morning Star.  My fingertips brush the floor, mirroring all Buddhas who call to the ground of being to witness their right to be who they are, where they are, what they are.

It is a statement that all existence is relational, can only be relational.

Thank you for practising with me into the Morning Star,


*from Love after love by Derek Walcott

2 thoughts on “tangle in the embrace

  1. During my talk at the Zen center on Sunday I described Buddha’s encounters with Mara.

    Then our guiding teacher gave his talk and, referencing my discussion of Mara, he asked, “What’s another name for Mara?”

    I immediately popped up with, “Barry!”

    And he said, “Ah, correct!” Then he went on to say that whenever we’re engaged with “I, my, me,” then Mara is present in our lives.

    Perhaps, with practice, we can know Mara’s heart. It’s not that different than our own.

  2. I love the story about Buddha having tea with Mara. When Thay tells it so playfully, they are portrayed as two good buddies sharing the stresses of being who they are, doing what they have to do.

    Sometimes I invite me and myself to tea. They never bring the cookies *I* like – but eventually we sort it out!

    Happy Bodhi Day, my friend!

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