I was playing on dictionary.com and entered the word “last” + the wild card *. Along with the usual suspects of “last gasp”, “last straw” and so on, was “last mile”. But it wasn’t the last mile of a condemned person.
The phrase used to describe one of the problems in attaining higher-speed, higher-capacity information flow to every household. It refers to the copper telephone wire that still carries information to households. The limited capacity of the wire slows data transmission even though it is possible to send data over high-capacity systems from anywhere in the world to within the “the last mile” (give or take) before the house. The use of cable technology, fiber optic technology, and wireless satellite technology are several of the solutions used to address this problem.
I wonder if our wiring to receive bodhisattva-hood is similar?
Uchiyama writes that a bodhisattva is one who lives by vow and repentance. I had to suspend my automatic assumptions of these words to understand his meaning. To live without being derailed by emotions and thoughts, to devote ourselves to the growth and care of others, to set the course in that direction is vow. It is a life direction, the zazen practitioners’ whole life direction. To repent is to know our inability to fulfill it. It is not a matter for regret or seeking forgiveness but rather a willingness to face what is – life straight on.
When there is no vow, we lose sight of progress;
when there is no repentance, we lose our way.
You are a bodhisattva. I am a bodhisattva. Yet I also perceive things differently from you, experience things in ways that do not always transmit across that last mile. In that silence, I falter and get lost. It makes me wonder what the attrition rate is for bodhisattvas?
But we try again, anyway: to transmit across that last mile, to cultivate willingness to continue even when blind to any progress we may be making and lost to all but ourselves.
Thank you for practicing,