Going Slowly – August 2, 2012 Meditation

Going Slowly

Imagine this if you will. You are driving down the road and in your car is a very fragile load, let’s say you have a crock-pot full of stew, some trays of food and you are on your way to a potluck supper. You want your items to arrive un-spilled and in good shape so that everyone will enjoy your contribution.

As you drive you navigate the turns slowly, so you don’t spill anything, and you drive with great caution making sure you have plenty of time to stop if you need to without slamming on the brakes. You notice that people are whizzing around you when they can, even though you are driving close to the speed limit. The speed limit by the way is not necessarily the speed at which you must drive it is in stead the maximum speed you should drive.

Still, the other drivers you sense are irritated at your slow and cautious pace.

You know why you are driving with such great caution, the other drivers, however, do not. Imagine if they did know, do you think they might be as irritated or impatient?

How many times do we become irritated when someone isn’t going as fast as we think they should, or who isn’t performing according to our standards? Are we like these drivers in our fictitious story? Do we take the time to consider there might be extenuating circumstances why someone is not doing things in a way to meet our expectations?

It is easy to judge other people and their actions without considering. It is not easy to always be gracious and kind. It is easy to construct a story about the other person being slow, stupid, or incompetent. It is not easy to remember that we do not fully understand all the circumstances in their lives.

“When we heard your first teaching, we did not know that that teaching was an expedient one expounded according to our capacities. Therefore, we believed and received that teaching at once, thought it over, and attained the enlightenment to be attained by that teaching.” (Lotus Sutra, Chapter III)

The Buddha’s first disciples were guilty of making a false assumption it is only with the teaching and their participation in the Lotus Sutra that they were able to learn the truth the Buddha only alluded to in his early teachings.

So too, when we mistakenly make false assumptions of others we miss the truth of their lives. This causes us suffering as well as potentially causing others suffering. We suffer when we think less of others or do not regard their lives and their inherent Buddha. We also diminish their lives and do not offer them the cause to awaken to enlightenment.

Our daily relationships, no matter how brief or fleeting, are opportunities to not only practice Buddhism but to allow others to connect with the Lotus Sutra. It isn’t just what we say with our mouths it is what we hold in our hearts.

“The extinction of suffering is called the third truth. In order to attain this extinction, the eight right ways must be practiced. Freedom from the bonds of suffering, that is, from illusions is called emancipation.” (Lotus Sutra, Chapter III)

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About Ryusho 龍昇

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.