Lesson
1

The Bodhisattva Ideal

7 of 10

Opening to your life

How can you allow these bodhisattvas to emerge around you? How do you open up reality and return to the source?

You can draw energy and inspiration from awakening beings, but that only happens when you're willing to join the club, when you're willing to see the bodhisattvas in your own life, in your difficulties and limitations. It happens when you are willing to listen, to be open to the suffering in the space within and without you. Just this listening is already an act of compassion. The bodhisattvas are manifested out of this space, this facing up to reality.

First just pay attention. It's easy to feel spacious and generous when things are going well. But when you're in a tight spot, you can be willing to just be present and willing to feel the space of your own body. This is a yogic practice, a bodhisattva practice—letting a little air into the restriction. It's like seeing the knots and tangles of your situation and then gently, slowly, letting go of holding them. You follow the stream back to its source again and again.

Once in my middle years I've grown fond of the Way.
I head out from my hut on South Mountain
and look for sights that only I can see.
I follow the stream back to the source
and sit and wait for the time when clouds arise.
Perhaps I meet a person of the woods,
we talk and laugh, and I forget to go home.
-- Wang Wei