Organic Opera

One Saturday a month I drive out to the organic grocery store to purchase a few hard-to-find vegetarian items. I had always imagined the organic grocery store as a peaceful sanctuary full of yoga practitioners, new-agers, Western Buddhists, massage therapists, and other spiritual followers, gathering together to buy wholesome foods and other items with a peaceful mind outside of the normal rush and chaos of the outside world. Surprise! The normal rush and chaos of the outside world would be scared of the frantic rush, agitated shoppers, menacing shopping baskets, assaulting shopping carts, angry glares, rude comments, impatient prances, and other similar behavior. The organic grocery store of Aventura, Florida could double as a zoo, where shoppers revert to primal behavior, wanting only to feed at all costs.
Today I was struck with at least two carts as I waited patiently for people to rush by and push me out of the way or reach around me or open the freezer door that stood directly in front of me. I was reminded that one should never have expectations, for the expectations will surely be broken, opening the door for suffering. Knowing this lesson well, this sort of behavior brings out no anger or impatience in me anymore, though that was not always the case. Careful to avoid as many bruises as possible, I gathered my groceries and asked, "What went wrong?"
In India, one will witness a very high level of devotion. One can imagine the millions of people who have chanted the same mantra and devoted themselves to the same images and worshipped at the same shrines. There is an insignificant nature to the individual aspect of religious pursuit when compared to the grand history. The wheel will turn when we leave.
In my opinion, the fundamental problem is the selfish nature in which the West approaches the spiritual path. While the mind thinks it is engaged in the true practice of a path, the seeds of that mind think, "how can I digest this religion or philosophy?" "When do I get to meet the Guru?"
At a recent mandala event, a woman arrived at the end of the four day event after the ceremonies had ended, glanced quickly at the surroundings, then asked the person at the desk, "how can I be blessed by the Rinpoche?"
This practice is much like the practice of hunting. While one man only sees the full majesty and beauty of the elephant while it walks, sleeps, and feeds in nature, the other man, the Western man, must impress himself upon the elephant. He shoots the elephant and puts the head upon his wall. He then feels that he has impressed himself upon this beauty. We know this is not true because before long he will feel empty and must find a new head for his wall, and no amount of heads will ever suffice.
Thus it is the same in the spiritual world. No amount of I will ever suffice. Collect all of the blessings, signatures of holy men, beads, books, pictures, relics, philosophies, rings, and theories, but all you will be left with is a room of lifeless heads. You will need new things to keep I satisfied. In Buddhist thought, there is the concept of the hungry ghost, constantly hungry but with a throat too small for food and water. Fill up the mouth with food, but the belly is always empty. I have great compassion for the hungry ghosts of Aventura, who strike out in anger and delusion only because of their hunger. Knowing this I take the bruises with a smile and hope that in kindness their throats might widen, their eyes might open, and wisdom might illuminate their souls.



At 9:10 AM, Blogger Sundar said...

lovely observe...insightful...

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Bodhiwater said...

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At 12:51 PM, Blogger Ambhoja said...

thanks. look forward to your next post.

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