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Two Ordinary Stories 

-Luoxi Yang from China

1,   

When we are studying philosophies, things can be intellectually “flamboyant”. We are training our intellect through, what’s in my mind, the coolest, most sophisticated and ultimate tool, the Buddhist philosophy. I don’t need to remind you all of its fascinating and dreamy concepts, such as interdependent origination, non-dualism, ālayavijñāna, emptiness, luminosity, dharmadhātu and dharmakaya etc. 

However, coming down to the actual Practice, it starts from the most basic, the most normal thing— breathing. 

Let me ask you a question, when you are practicing calm- abiding, are you able to breath naturally? If you are, congratulations. I can’t because of multiple reasons. Even though I have spent years in studies, sometimes also join the Drubchens and mimic some complex mandala visualizations, deep down, I know, I don’t really know dharma. Because I cannot even handle the simplest and most basic practice— To breath naturally.  

I asked multiple people for this. Khenpos, Lamas, Rinpoches. They shared inspiring insights with me. Here, I would love to share advice from Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche with you. 

Rinpoche: It shouldn’t be difficult. It should be natural, 

I (Frustratingly): But Rinpoche, it is not easy. It is so difficult to breath naturally.  

Rinpoche (looked at me generously with his full attention): 

Yes. It is difficult.  

It is difficult to be natural. 

If we can be natural, then we are Buddhas. But we can’t. Why?  

Karma and afflictions. Attachment. Aversion. Ignorance. 

2,  

It is said that Nepal is the Mandala of Dakinis. 

Once, during school holidays, I jumped into a bus and went to Lumbini. Entering Lumbini garden, walking on the peaceful path leading to the Maya Devi Temple, a thought arose in my mind: “How wonderful if I could have a flower to offer!” It was a warm afternoon, only a few people walking on that street. No sign for flower seller was found. 

Suddenly, I felt someone touching my shoulder. I turned back. An Indian lady coming from nowhere, hold two beautiful lotus flowers in her hand. Without saying anything, she directly pushed those flowers almost forcefully, to me.  

The first impression was weird. I thought she was a beggar. Dry skin. Dim complexion. A bit shorter than me. Very thin. Dirt in the eyes. Her Hands seemed to be dusty. Her clothes were simply a piece of long ragged old scarf that was wrapped around her body. The next moment, I noticed her eyes. I often see needs and expectations from a beggar’s eyes. But her eyes seemed to be different. There was no trace of need or expectation there. On the contrary, they were serene, austere, sharp, and with severity, like the eyes of a wrathful dakini. 

Many thoughts entered into my brain. From one hand, I worried that if she was a real beggar, she might try to ask more money if I took her flower, because obviously I was the only foreign tourist at that time. On the other hand, she seemed to be quite different. She showed up at such a coincidental timing. Her flowers were also too beautiful to be rejected. Feeling weird and amazed at the same time, I silently took a flower from her dry and dusty hand and offered her some rupees. Without barging or saying anything, not even a word, she left. 

Inside the Maya Devi Temple, I approached to the Buddha’s birth location and waited in the line to do prostration. At that time, I saw her again. She was right in front of the Buddha’s birth spot. Unlike other people who quickly left so other people could prostrate, she didn’t leave after paying homage to the Buddha’s birth spot. She stood under the carved sculpture of Lady Maya Devi next to the Buddha’s birth spot, turned around her body, and turned her gaze toward me. It was almost like she was waiting for me to prostrate to the Buddha and to her. At that time, her bodily figure and the shape of her clothes looked very similar to the shape of lady Maya Devi’s sculpture on top of her head.  

Without holding hesitation for too long, I prostrated. While I was prostrating, I though these in my mind: Whether you are a beggar or a dakini, your nature is buddha nature. By this prostration, I confess all my deluded, narrow and dualistic habits. By this prostration, I confess for all my karmic obscurations in the eye consciousness and in the mental consciousness. By this prostration, I prostrate to the great equality, the luminous Tathāgatagarbha that has been shared by all the buddhas, bodhisattvas, by you, by me, and by all the sentient beings. 

After watching me prostration, her facial expression seemed to become slightly gentler. Without speaking a word, she left.  

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