Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Master


If we imagine that we are the champion in the ring, on the pitch, or on the field, we cannot say that we are the master. Age is our master. We are on top, but only for a time. Someone faster, more skilled, more gifted, with a new set of ideas with come to replace us and we will be left with only memories and trophies.

If we say that we are the most beautiful, age will show that it is the master again. If we are the most intelligent in our firm or company, another will soon come and that status will change. If we feel that we have power, when we look upwards, we find those above us. Those at the top find that they still answer to the many below in some way or another. The master has many other masters, or he holds the crown for only a short time.

In this short precious life we cannot hold on to anything. We cannot guarantee anything. We cannot be certain of a breathe, of continual sight or other senses, or that we will share in the joys of our past. We cannot be certain of a continued love or friendship. Some will attempt to hold on to these things with every ounce of effort and energy. They devote their lives to holding on to wealth, status, love, and any other possession. They have attained a high standard: the Master of Fools.

We can all be one master and one master only. We are born with a mind but at birth it is taken from us. We lose control of it. When others taunt us or say things to our displeasure, we yell back or we cry. They have decided our reaction. We are the puppet. Things will dangle in front of our senses and we will react, and the strings of our puppet mind will move. We have little control. Most of us will play this dance for the audience of other puppets for an entire life or many, with no hope of escape. We are different.

When we heard the words, "Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of suffering....." we found in our hands a tiny pair of scissors and we cut our first string, yet the puppet still dances to and fro. We have one chance to be a master, a master of our mind, which plays us for a fool. We cut strings until we learn to see beyond string and no-string. Then we no longer need tools. We are different. We have heard the words. We have taken the steps. We have to keep taking them. Buddhism is a daily practice in unthinking, not a religion of practices, sayings, and sutras. If we find ourselves before a Buddha made of wood or stone, or a Buddha bound in print, and we seek out this Buddha, then we later have one more string to cut. Where is the Buddha in our mind? If we kneel to the Buddha, we create the Buddha, and the puppet dance begins again. Let us not be the Master of Fools.

Happy cutting.

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