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A Dharmic Dream

February 21, 2018, 6:36 AM

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By : Alex

 

My girlfriend had a dream about us early this morning. In her dream we were looking for a place to host our daughter’s wedding reception. She had heard about a place that everyone raved about, and we were in the area so we stopped by to check it out. It used to be a mall, but for some reason they tore it down. It turned out that under the mall was a very large foundation, and it was historically important and had to be preserved. The foundation was very strange. It kept moving. It looked something like waves and it was enormous. It was also very beautiful and had a blue “military style” band around it. One of the construction people was standing above it near the edge. He said that they had no idea how the guy designed it or built it, so there was no way they could fix it.. But since it was so unusual and beautiful it had to be preserved. My girlfriend didn’t seem to know what this dream was about, but I think I eventually figured it out. It has to do with the foundation of Buddhism. How did I get that? It’s simple. I’ve been a Buddhist for over 20 years. I don’t consider myself a good practitioner (meaning I don’t meditate every day), but I have recited both the Four Noble Truths and the Diamond Sutra pretty much every day for the last 20 years or so. I don’t think I have ever received any formal instruction on either of these two sutras, but I decided a long time ago that if I were to accomplish anything in this life, it would be worth it to at least try to gain an understanding of these two teachings. In Buddhism there is a lot of talk about suffering and how gaining enlightenment is the cure for ignorance. I don’t dispute this in any way; if anything, it seems our world is exploding with negativity and we need this more than ever. But even after practicing Buddhism for over 20 years, I don’t think I ever really (I mean really) thought I would actually GET what Buddhism was all about. Gaining enlightenment is not an easy process. The Buddha used a metaphor of a turtle raising its head every hundred years and putting it through a ring floating on the surface of the ocean. The odds of that happening are astronomically small. And I can also tell you that in a previous life I was a student of the 6th Patriarch of Zen, and I didn’t “get” the Dharma in that life either. As I began to think about my girlfriend’s dream, I began to connect it to what I had been studying and found that there were indeed many connections. Why did she get this dream? Probably because of what I had been focusing on. Our thoughts go out from us like ripples on the surface of a lake, and eventually they come back to us in different forms. She picked up on what I was thinking. The elements of the dream represent the two facets of the Buddha’s teachings that I was attempting to understand, emptiness and impermanence. These two teachings, emptiness and impermanence, were the two main teachings I was focusing on because they were the two main teachings that the Buddha always taught, and I felt they were the ones I understood the least. As I thought about the dream, I began to wonder about something I had never wondered about. In our age, generally the Dharma is thought to have been brought about by the Buddha. But I had never seriously thought about where it came from. What was the foundation of the Buddha’s Dharma? I suddenly realized that my girlfriend’s dream was the answer to this question. The mall that has been torn down represents our conventional way of perceiving our world. The large foundation is the foundation of Buddhism. The fact that it is open means it is accessible to everyone. The fact that it is vast and empty alludes to the Buddha’s teachings on emptiness. The fact that the foundation was moving represents the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence. I don’t exactly know how to describe what happened next, but I can tell you I did a whole lot of crying. It was quite overwhelming. I heard the beginning of the Heart Sutra: “All Dharmas are marked with Emptiness.” The feeling was of disbelief. I was completely stunned. What came to me was that the Dharma is so vast that a thousand universes could not contain it.

 

 

 

 

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