Issue 17;


What is the meaning of Devotion?

By Francis Checkley Anryu Chiu

How amazing the richness of our language! Just a brief glance at my thesaurus offers these other words of vary similar meaning.
Loyalty, faithfulness, commitment, allegiance, constancy, adherence, dedication, love, admiration & fondness.The word "devoted" (adjective) comes from the same origin and similar words include reverent, holy, godly, saintly, unwavering, sincere, keen, enthusiastic, passionate, ardent, fervent and, here it comes again "wholehearted.
Of course all of the above are very admirable qualities of sentient beings and I think most people would agree that such qualities are of vast importance because they enrich and give meaning to our lives.If we are to have faith in the Buddhist belief that the three highest blessings are those of human life, hearing the Dharma and meeting a Teacher( which those of us reading this newsletter have) then devotion, commitment, dedication, call it what will, is essential.
It is so essential because when we realise or awaken to the preciousness of life we naturally want others to know this also. We have received a practice passed down faithfully through generations since the Buddha which we know inevitably leads to this realisation and so devotion and gratitude are indispensable.
Our teachers embody these virtues and their life's work is their proper transmission. In their humility they offer themselves both as teachers and students of the Way as they guide us to resume our natural order of mind free from greed, hate and delusion.In our practice, we bring devotion to the details of our every day life. Forms and ceremonies reflect our care and intimacy with each other and each thing we use is
given honor and respect.
This devotion to form in the Zendo may see our Teachers making almost imperceptible "adjustments" to our posture. Initially, there maybe a sense of awkwardness with the newness of how we hold ourselves but most times it allows us to let go of long held tensions, breathe more easily and feel more settled. Over and over again we show devotion as we bow to the Triple Treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
For herein we find the inspiration,path and actualisation of awakening.
I have heard that someone once asked Suzuki Roshi the meaning of the Heart Sutra? "It is about "Love" he is reported to have said!
So, every day throughout the world millions of us are devoted to chanting a mantra of love to each other , for each other!
We vow endlessly to come toghether, to leap free, and go beyond all self limiting ideas, views, convictions and prejudices. To this end we chant " Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha."
Deep Bows

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