In the mode of extending compassionate
action (Lesson 8) we explored ways an engaged Buddhist can extend
their compassion into the fields of practice. Where do we find our
fields of practice? The outer circle of the Wheel offers broad fields
of practice. Where in the world do you find your path?
Is your route one no one has yet to explore?
In its long history, Buddhism has repeatedly adapted
to different cultures and fresh circumstances. The lore of every major
lineage honors pioneers and pilgrims who journeyed to new lands, semi-legendary
figures who still serve as archetypes of spiritually motivated exploration.
The "first ancestor" of Zen, Bodhidharma, is said to have
traveled all the way from India to China, reaching his goal by crossing
the Yangtze River on a single reed. Padmasambhava trekked the Himalayas
to bring Buddhism to Tibet. The Chinese master Chien-chen endured
dangerous shipwrecks and other reversals to transmit a monastic lineage
to Japan; by the time he arrived, he had gone blind. The first Westerners
to seek Buddhism in once exotic places like Lhasa, Kandy, and Kyoto
endured physical and emotional hardships in order to taste the wisdom
of cultures that were profoundly foreign. The luminous courage of
these pioneers is another attribute of bodhisattva mind.
What new terrain might you explore? If you were to"journey"
to new terrain in which to engage, where might that