Sowing Seeds in the Garden of Affinity
Realisation: Sowing Seeds in the Garden of Affinity
Seeds can grow into fruits, which have more seeds, which can grow more fruits. -stonepeace
Something bizarre yet wonderful tends to happen recently. Strangers smile at me for no reason I know. Some even greet me by name. Puzzling as it was, I smile and greet in return. After a few incidents, I realised that these unrecognised friends are fellow brothers and sisters in the Dharma, who had in some way come into contact with me before - usually through this newsletter and in person, having met me during the occasional public Dharma sharing sessions I lead. As grateful as they might be for whatever little I could share, I'm equally, if not more grateful, for them taking the trouble to say "Hi". Great thanks!
This "phenomenon" has taught me many lessons... We are usually more interpersonally connected to each other than we are aware of - both in good and bad ways. While we may have benefitted some strangers unknowingly, we have probably offended some too. For instance, while one easily feels inpatience when blocked by those who unmindfully walk too slowly before us in crowds, oneself also occasionally walks unmindfully, hampering others behind us. In the mean time, many are not aware or thankful to those who mindfully walk faster to clear the way for us. This is just a small example of how we inter-affect each other unknowingly in everyday life. We thus need to be more mindful - of benefitting others more, of others being our anonymous benefactors, and of not intentionally or accidentally bringing any form of unhappiness to others.
Nowadays, when I naturally make the occasional eye contact with strangers, I smile more easily - for the simple reason that s/he might be a benefactor in some way unrealised - in this life or a previous one! Afterall, it's a free and easy way of expressing gratitude! (I hope these strangers don't find the smiling weird!) Let's start connecting to others positively, and leave no negative interpersonal experience unresolved. Yes, the path to Buddhahood, of being a Buddha who can readily benefit whoever He encounters, necessarily includes connecting to more and more beings positively. A smile is a nice start! Note that the Buddha is always portrayed smiling!
When we sow seeds of loving-kindness and compassion wherever we go and come by the same place again later, we will discover that a full garden of beautiful flowers and sweet fruits have come into full blossom. Every encounter with a person, be s/he a stranger or not, is a wonderful opportunity to sow a positive seed of karmic connection. It is said if one does not connected enough with others now, there would naturally be less chances of connecting with these "others" in the future. If so, even if one practises the Dharma well, one might become a Silent Buddha (Pratyekabuddha), who is one who had attained enlightenment, yet having no ready audience to hear His teachings - due to having little karmic affinity with others. Vice versa, to become a "Public Buddha", to have a sizable audience whom we can benefit with the Dharma, we have to begin sowing the seeds of kindness now. Let's begin establishing a positive karmic "network" for future "marketing" of the Dharma! How to do so? Just be as kind and wise to others as you can now, while always increasing your Compassion and Wisdom. Yes, you can begin by skilfully "marketing" the Dharma to benefit those around you - both by practising the Dharma well and being willing to share it! -Shen Shi'an
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