Bodhicaryāvatāra Studentlife Study

Trees Are Trees

A famous Zen master once said, 

“while practicing in the path, initially the trees are trees, the mountains are mountains, and the oceans are oceans, but at some point the trees are no more trees, the mountains are no more mountains and the oceans are no more oceans… and finally at the end of the path, trees are once again trees, mountains are once again mountains and the oceans are once again oceans.”

Studying Buddhism in RYI is a venture which will usher you to somewhat the same kind of experiences.  In the initial days of Shedra when one goes through the preliminary teachings of  the Bodhicharyavatara, The Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices or Words of My Perfect Teacher and so forth, one starts gazing closely into the eyes of what we call life, one starts to enjoy life more, starts to be more mindful of phenomena around oneself.  Colors start becoming brighter, foods start becoming tastier.  Thus trees look more like trees and mountains look more like mountains. But as one proceeds further into the profound teachings of the philosophical schools, things once perceived as concrete entities dissolve into partless atoms, atoms dissolve into mind, and mind dissolves into ineffable emptiness.  One becomes many, many becomes the illusory display (of mind), which takes birth as the beautiful son of a barren woman, whom one has met in one’s dream.  At that moment trees are no more trees, mountains are no more mountains…

The enlightened ones say the journey doesn’t end at this point.  To proceed further, our teacher Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche suggests, that the intellectual understanding that we have attained inside the walls of our classroom should be tested, experimented and integrated outside those walls in our day to day experiences, which he deems the most crucial practice one has to engage in.  So the sages advise that if one perseveres to do so, a day will come when trees are once again trees, mountains are once again mountains and the oceans are once again oceans…”

I welcome all of you friends (blog readers) to come and test the validity of this statement; of this adventurous journey.  Just to remind you, “the Starting point is RYI.

by Ishwor from Nepal

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