There is a special prayer by one of the forefathers of the Kagyü lineage called The Four Dharmas of Gampopa, that goes something like this:
Grant your blessings so that my mind may be one with the Dharma
Grant your blessings so that Dharma may progress along the path
Grant your blessings so that the path may clarify confusion
Grant your blessings so that confusion may dawn as wisdom
And in the words of my teacher and spiritual friend, “It was a delightful weekend complete with disturbing, uncomfortable and then transforming to ease and appreciation.”
I couldn’t of said it any better.
Members of the Pasadena Bodhi Path sangha attended a benefit production for the Yokoji Zen Mountain Center this past Sunday at the Echo Theater Company in Atwater Village. All proceeds for the theater production went to assist in repairs that the Zen Center was in need of after fire and mudslides damaged the land last year. Our center held a 5 day retreat at the center a few years ago so we felt a connection and wanted to help. None of us had much of an idea of what the play was going to be about. I was able to find a brief review but was not quite prepared for what transpired. The play was about a teenage boy who is seduced by the high school secretary. I’ll leave it at that if there are those of you who find this post and don’t want any spoilers. The actors were wonderful. The play, for some of the audience, was not so pleasing. There were scenes of sexual nature as well as an assault.
At the intermission, there was quite a stir amongst our group as well as some of the other audience members as was noticeable by some of the empty seats when the play resumed. We had some friends who were not inclined to return after the intermission. A few of us did return and finished the show. The second half of the production was not as jolting as the first part. Overall, I think those of us who stayed thought it was an enjoyable production.
For me, it was a very interesting experience. They say that art is supposed to shake you up. Bring up some emotion. Not always pleasing. Make you a little uncomfortable. That sounds like dharma practice to me! This is how I dealt with the situation. It was something that I didn’t expect. And that is how life happens sometimes. I was in a situation that made me a little uncomfortable. Shook me up a little. And I worked with it. Life happens in the most unpredictable, uncomfortable, and unexpected ways. But this, for me, was an opportunity to put into practice, equanimity. Unmoving, unshakeable, and un-located. It was a situation that brought up the emotions. But the situation was theater. Yet we felt all the emotionality that would occur were it an actual event. So I felt quite grateful for the opportunity to practice. And these are wonderful opportunities because we can see just how easily caught up we can get, even when it’s just theater.
I don’t mean to say that we should all take in theater, movies, or other entertainment that makes us uncomfortable. We know ourselves better than anyone. So we can decide what it is that we need most to be able to benefit all beings. I must admit that I enjoy horror movies myself and would cringe at the most gruesome scenes, even closing my eyes! But I thought of using the situation as a practice. If you wish to know what practice, maybe that will be a future post!
Our friends who decided not to return for the second half stayed close by and waited for the end of the play to join us for dinner. We all had a wonderful time at a nearby restaurant that our teacher had found, Canelé. The food was excellent and the company was marvelous! A complete transformation to ease and appreciation.
May confusion dawn as wisdom,