Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Coming Out Of Darkness And Into The Light

I really wish I had this quote yesterday when I wrote about feeling like a fish out of water or being someone on a different page than everyone around me. Now I realize that I am just on an island. I hope I am not "Lost".

You should be an island to yourself, a refuge to yourself, not dependent on any other but taking refuge in the truth and none other than the truth. And how do you become an island and a refuge to yourself?In this way. You see and contemplate your body as composed of all the forces of the universe. Ardently and mindfully you steer your body-self by restraining your discontent with the world about you. In the same way, observe and contemplate your feelings and use that same ardent restraint and self-possession against enslavement by greed or desire. By seeing attachment to your body and feelings as blocking the truth, you dwell in self-possession and ardent liberation from those ties.This is how you live as an island to yourself and a refuge to yourself. Whoever dwells in this contemplation, islanded by the truth and taking refuge in the truth...that one will come out of the darkness and into the light.
-Digha Nikaya
From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000.

1 comment:

Littlefair said...

When I read your post I couldn't help but think of John Donne's famous lines about humanity:

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

At first sight I thought the two quotes may be in conflict but rather I see them as two different strands of thinknig.

Digha Nikaya's idea is that we shouldn't be possessed by our body and its needs and desires whereby Donne is speaking about the link to humanity: this global energy that makes us one large family.

Maybe they are more likely in counterpoint?

PS it's snowing here today!