Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let Experience In

January 10, 2010
Tricycle's Daily Dharma
Let Experience In

The practice of compassion means letting experience in. A Japanese poet, a woman named Izumi who lived in the tenth century, wrote: “Watching the moon at dawn, solitary, mid-sky, I knew myself completely. No part left out.” When we can open to all parts of ourselves and to others in the world, something quite extraordinary happens. We begin to connect with one another.

- Joseph Goldstein, "Heart Touching Heart," Tricycle Winter 2007

For anyone not familiar with Joseph Goldstein, he cofounded the Insight Meditation Center with wonderful Sharon Salzberg. Dharma Seed offers over 30 pages of talks by Joseph Goldstein that you can listen to for free here!

He appears in the picture above with another one of my favorite people, Dipa Ma. Dipa Ma was an amazing Buddhist practitioner, lover of the dharma, who did a beautiful job of bringing meditation into a non-monastic life. If you feel at all drawn to learn more about her, there's a wonderful book: Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master. If you fall in love with her the way I have, there's even a lovely (rather long) video of her you can watch here.

Sharon Salzberg has published a lovely article about Dipa Ma on the Huffington Post website. See below for an excerpt. You can read the whole article here.

"Right Effort in Dipa Ma's case meant simply not giving up, while not deriding or disliking her experience. Sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping more, and then one day waking up. Believing in her own capacity to be free, she was steadfast, and the fruits of her practice were extraordinary. In meditation practice, Dipa Ma transformed her grief into love for all. She understood so deeply the fragility of life, the times of loss and pain, and the fact that no one is exempt from these. I never saw her meet anybody with anything other than luminous love and compassion, no matter who they were. There seemed no such thing as exclusion from her heart, because there is no such thing as exclusion from vulnerability in life. Her own suffering taught her that."