Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sunshine State/Buddha State

Stuck. I left Chicago to go to college and ended up in a city I didn't like and was stuck there without the financial resources to leave. Many days I would think about what it would be like to be in Miami, with clear skies and sandy beaches, with so much to do, instead of being where I was. My State was miserable, but Florida sounded great. I thought about how little there was to do and how great things would be elsewhere. The source of my unhappiness seemed to be where I lived. Though I wasn't able to move to Miami I was able to eventually leave that place and try another city. It was nice for awhile, but then those same thoughts came back. I had also always wanted to live in Tokyo. Some Sunday nights I would think about what I could be doing there on the other side of the world instead of absolutely nothing in a town where everything closed at 5:00 in the afternoon.
I had done some moving but no matter where I went, the sorrow followed. No State seemed to have the answer. I started to wonder if Florida even stood a chance for me. With every move, I tried to throw away old things and start new, but it was too easy to bring the old things along. When I finally thought I might have the chance to move to Florida, I started going through papers, old writings, stories, junk upon junk and throwing away mountains of things I didn't need to carry. Even throwing all of this away, would it really change anything? Casting off old memories is really just a symbolic gesture. Then it hit me. What is the one piece of junk that I have carried with me in every town, in every city, in every bit of sorrow? ME!
Sidetracking a bit, a friend in Florida explained to me that in Mandarin Chinese, English words are written with Chinese characters with a similar sound. In the case of Florida, the sound "Flor" does not exist in Chinese. The character that was decided to represent this sound was 'Fo', the same character for the Buddha. As he explained to me, the entire word is not usually sounded out, but instead would be written out something like, "State of Fo."
Back to me, I realized that the perfect State is not a member of the Union, not Florida, but a state of calm abiding, of discerning wisdom and penetrating insight, unattached from the fetters of greed, ignorance, and hatred. My sorrow came from these roots, not my location. My mind carried these seeds and I watered them daily! So in the end the Sunshine State did shine a little light on me, the peace surrounds me, and perhaps, the Chinese got the name right after all.



At 10:11 PM, Blogger graceonline said...

Thank you. This teaching is perfect.


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