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  • Writer's pictureMetta

Mandala

This morning I woke up before dawn. Tried to go back to sleep, but my mind started going in circles over something I was sad about. Sadness coming from attachment, attachment to other outcomes. Attachment to wanting others to do what I wanted, even though they were choosing differently. Losing touch in the truth that "change comes from within", so change is going to happen, or it is not. And also each person is who they are, and can be happy with how they navigate things, even if it is different from me. So the unwinding and re-winding of those thoughts, like a yoyo. Buddhist practice: unwinding it. Old patterns of the brain: rewinding it. Back and forth. But I noticed the sky brightening around the edges of the window shades, and felt joy. How much I love the sun rising in the morning. The changes in the colors, the reminder of a new cycle, a new day. A reminder of how precious each sunrise is. The sky is an interesting color this morning, the weather changing so the clouds moving quickly in great heavy lines of bluish grey. So the dawn was initial brightness dampened by the clouds. This weather pattern in my mind will change, and it changed as I went from sadness/stuckness when I woke up as I thought "oh the sunrise".


This morning I will teach middle schoolers about mandalas, and imagery of the Buddha. It has been interesting to think about because I have not delved to deep into either. But both are important. Mandalas are a reminder to the cycle of everything, the complex structure of the universe, the cycles of the seasons, the cycle of life and death, the interrelated connectedness of everything. I drew one a long time ago, not even thinking too deeply about mandalas. This morning my heart felt a great relaxation in thinking about the interrelatedness of it all represented in the art. Just like treasuring the dawn that repeats itself every day, the same and totally different each time depending on the sky, the weather, the season, how I percieve it with how I am feeling and where I am. And then a letting go feeling as I think of the Tibetian mandalas and the sweeping up of all the grains of sand, and release back into nature. Back into the flow of it all. Nothing is permanent.


By my reflecting on the symbols of the Buddha, I can continue to use them as reminders. I do this now whenever I see the Buddha touching the earth. It was the moment before awakening. Mara demanded to know why Buddha thought this was even possible, the ultimate attack of self-doubt for Buddha. The Buddha touched the earth, the earth as his witness. "You are not the earth." Sometimes tit is said that the earth said "I am your witness" when the story is that Mara demanded a witness. Unshakeability, steadfastness in the gesture of the hand. The being that seeks enlightenment is in tune with the structure of the universe represented in the Mandala. Everything is interdependent, no beginning, no end. All is impermanent even in the midst of no beginning, no end. The beginning and no end is just things flowing from form to form. Like leaves, to compost, to new leaves. Like the molecules once in other living things that comprise my body, and how when I die my molecules go back into the great cycle of other things. Parts of my DNA move on through my niece and nephews and they were given to me as well along the great path of nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA.


When I have self doubt in being able to be present, being able to be on a bodhisattva path, when I go back into head trances, I can touch the earth. I am grounded. This path is real. More real than the constructs around me. I can be in touch with the reality, the bigger picture. I am within this great cycle and should not waste this life.


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