“When Bankei was preaching at Ryumon temple, a Shinshu priest, who believed in salvation through the repetition of the name of the Buddha of Love, was jealous of his large audience and wanted to debate with him.
Bankei was in the midst of a talk when the priest appeared, but the fellow made such a disturbance that Bankei stopped his discourse and asked about the noise.
“The founder of our sect,” boasted the priest, “had such miraculous powers that he held a brush in his hand on one bank of the river, his attendant held up a paper on the other bank, and the teacher wrote the holy name of Amida through the air. Can you do such a wonderful thing?”
Bankei replied lightly: “Perhaps your fox can perform that trick, but that is not the manner of Zen. My miracle is that when I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel thirsty I drink.”– The real miracle. from Zen flesh, Zen bones
God has a simple taste. Let me be clear. By the word ‘God’ I don’t mean any imagined entity or a person. I use this word only to suggest that feeling or experience or higher power, whatever it is. It is the unknown.
When something is unknown to us, it is best not to define it. Because defining the unknown leads to preconceived notions about it. And when the unknown really reveals itself, we are already corrupted by our own imagination.
Modern world emphasizes intellect more than intelligence. People are impressed with cleverness and ignore wisdom. The web of intellect has made us believe that a thing is great only if it is reachable through a higher I.Q. A question is not considered worthy if it is a simple question.
“Who am I?” is such a simple question which directly questions our existence, but I rarely notice a person pondering or reflecting upon that. It is all because we are so taken over by the social forces which claims to be busy and thinks that there are more important things to do than to think about such silly questions!
This has led to a default belief in most of us that God is someone or something great and far away from us.
I wanted to remind you all that God is rarely felt in the intellect. To me, God is right here and right now with us only if we choose to look.
Once in my primary school day a teacher said, “You know when a thing is so close to our eyes, it is blurry and we cannot see it clearly. It is the same with God. God is much closer to us than we think, but we cannot feel him. We need to increase our awareness to be able to feel him.” Those words really struck me!
I want to express here some simple states of mind where I am in touch with an abundance of joy, where I feel that I am really close with the supreme intelligence or God:
1.) Wonders in nature
When I go to the park, I am surrounded by nature. If you observe nature closely, you will be filled with the wonder about how magnificent is the world we live in! Observing the beauty in leaves of the tree, and how they play with the wind. The silences which are in constant negotiations with the sounds of birds, moving leaves and playing children. Observing such ‘ordinary’ miracles is joyful beyond any intellectual pleasure.
I read somewhere that ‘faith is the evidence of the unseen.’ Indeed it is. Faith is beyond any kind of logic or rational conclusions, and yet how many times in life we have to rely on absolute faith over something, only because it is outside of our intellectual scope. Absolute faith in God is a state of mind where you feel that everything is exactly the way it should be!
However, there is a difference between faith and belief which is worth understanding. A belief is based on preconceived notions. A believer will only accept something when it confirms to his existing notions. Faith on the other hand is absolutely letting go. A faithful person is ready to accept God in any form that it presents.
3.) Creative expression
When I am involved deeply into the act of creating, I lose track of time. To me, the act of creating anything is an attempt to understand God through experience. Dedication to our creative work is very similar to devotion towards god.
No need to explain that being intensely grateful is one of the closest feelings to god. It is not a ‘good’ feeling. ‘Happiness’, ‘pleasure’, ‘success’ are good feelings. Gratefulness is something different from these good feelings. It is a feeling where you can really connect with the universe and thank every atom in the universe just because it is a part of your existence. It is not related to anything I ‘have’. It is simply ‘I am grateful that I exist’ kind of feeling.
I would leave you with these beautiful words by Buddha.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”Buddha
Thank you for reading. I hope this post adds value to your life and helps you remember when you felt closest to ‘God’. And I would love to hear your experiences. 🙂
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