There is no adventure that can compare with the adventure of the life given willingly and gladly to the Eternal.
I speak from experience, for when I was young I did some very adventurous things. Some of these adventures I undertook alone, some with companions. Some were very dangerous.
I was searching for something in these adventures, but I kept not quite finding what I was searching for. When at last I was ready to hear the Teachings of the Buddha and begin to meditate, I lost the urge to undertake physical risks.—And when I began to try to sit still, I found myself face-to-face with the fear that I had been trying to conquer by external means.
I also found myself face-to-face with a deep longing. This longing can be turned in all kinds of directions. It can be turned toward fame and material gain, toward romantic and sexual love, toward friendship and companionship. Yet just by sitting still within this longing and allowing it to turn within, I found one day that the real Object of this longing is nothing less than That which we call “the Eternal”—Love, but not love in its multitudinous external expressions; rather, Love at Its True Source.
That sounds simple enough, and so it is. Yet on the day that I began to realize that the Love of God was what I was longing for, I was in a great and prolonged spiritual darkness, full of fear, grief, self-judgment and despair. The difficulties encountered in my worldly adventures were as nothing in comparison with this spiritual hell. Yet right within this great darkness, I was beginning to experience brief periods of ecstasy: at last my spiritual eyes were beginning to open to the Love that is not born and does not die and that imbues every aspect of existence—that imbues every aspect of this very moment of this very day.
Do not despise the darkness and the difficulty: it is an absolutely necessary part of the greatest of all adventures. In that darkness, everything we try to cling to is stripped away. When all else fails, if we will but look up in instinctive and intuitive faith, we find that we can hold fast to the Eternal Itself. And we find that Its gentle Hand is supporting and guiding us as we stumble through the darkness.
There is more to the adventure than the darkness, and there is more to the adventure than the light. To follow where the Eternal leads, never stopping either because of difficulty or because of enjoyment (both of which are always transitory), and to follow for the sake of the following itself—this is the greatest of all adventures. This is love returning to Love, love following Love, love becoming one with Love.
The Keeping of the Ten Precepts Retreat was held at the Priory April 9-15. We would like to thank the lay trainees who participated in the retreat, and also the monks who traveled from other temples of the Association to be here during this important week. We would especially like to express our gratitude to Rev. Master Mokushin, Dean of the Association, who led the retreat.
Rev. Master Bennet traveled to North Cascades Buddhist Priory for
the week of the Taking and Keeping of the Ten Precepts Retreat. He
returned to the temple to find 12" of snow from a weekend blizzard,
and two angry cats who will require some dedicated laptime to
mollify their ire.
He wishes to express his gratitude to Jeff and Mary, who looked after the temple and Tom and Gracie while he was away. It was especially kind of Jeff to clear the driveway with the snowblower after the storm.