“Therefore we say that there is no mountain barrier and no river separation. The bright light penetrates every corner of the world.”
Great Master Wanshi Shokaku
This is perhaps one of my favourite quotes. Every year my temple sends out little red greeting cards with this printed on them. This quote was also put onto my father’s funeral announcement all those years ago. I think he would have liked it very much, his spiritual practise was very much linked to the natural world.
At this time of year it can get a bit overwhelming if one is sucked into the whirlwind of the secular aspects of the looming holiday. I am not nuts about the season and it tends to make me “scrooge-like” if I am not careful. Luckily there are always little pointers to the reason for all this whirling about, underneath the noise. A wonderful monk I know has written and provided links to good explanations of what some Buddhists do this time of year. The most important thing for me in reading, and in all these years of practising in our tradition is to try not to cut off, to not try to separate from the world that we live in, to not want to sleep through the entire season and not go overboard with the noise too.
This little guy was a gift from a patient who died several years ago now. This snowman is our “greeter” when people come over. He cracks me up. Every year he gets a bit more lopsided and can I ever identify with that! A perfect way to brighten things up.
So we will exchange gifts and light up a little plastic tree. Grant drapes our living room in garlands and shiny hearts, and we keep the ribbons away from the cat who will eat them. On Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day we will share food with friends, call our families and tell them we love them. That’s an OK way to celebrate the light coming back isn’t it?