- Shiny Points of Light on the Freeway (of Life)
- Finding the Brightness (in Everyone)
- Seeing Beyond the Grime and Noise
- Cleaning a Little Every Moment
Have you ever driven down the road on a sunny morning and looked at the other cars? Usually in the early morning, or late afternoon, sunlight seems to reflect off of the cars in front of us, and often the cars coming towards us in the opposite direction. The sunlight doesn’t seem to pay attention to the particular make or model of the cars. Nor does it seem to always be brightest on the biggest ones, or the fastest ones, or even the oldest ones. Sometimes all of the cars are very bright; and other times a random few seem to glimmer back at you. Sunlight doesn’t pay any attention to how much a car is worth, nor how it was manufactured.
When we talk about every person having a Buddha nature within, sometimes it’s hard to imagine _every_ person having one. So, instead, look at the lights reflected on the cars. Can you predict which ones will be bright, versus the ones which have no reflection at all? Are the light reflections based upon where they came from, how they were built, or how expensive they were to buy? And yet, every single car, at one point or another, will reflect light; and sometimes that light cannot be seen by you, because of your perspective. But that same car could be brilliant to another person. Sometimes the person inside a car cannot see any reflections at all, especially upon their own vehicle.
And that’s how this concept of Buddha nature works. And the challenge becomes to imagine every single car you see before you and behind you with its own brilliant reflection, whether or not it’s immediately obvious or apparent. Even if that brightness is hidden behind years of dirt and rust, it’s still in there lying quietly beneath the grime. That little light even is there if the vehicle is angrily honking at everyone, or smashed in an accident. Or even if the car sits idly every day, there is a reflection there somewhere waiting for someone to see it.
Also think about your own shiny reflection, that for the most part, you cannot see yourself. You can polish yourself to shine as brightly as possible. You can appreciate when others see those reflections becoming visible to others. And you can even come to appreciate when someone else notices a dull spot that can use a little more attention, because they would like your brilliance to shine brightly, too. Shinnyo members think a lot about cleaning, because it’s often a direct analogy to not only hygiene, but also to our spiritual cleanliness. Looking at our own limitations, prejudices, criticisms and need to get rewarded, or finding fault in others can be thought of as dirt sitting in our own spiritual vessels. Every time we go to fill ourselves up with the waters of good or positivity, the more dirt and sediment that sits at the bottom, the quicker that same water becomes cloudy or even muddy once all that dirt is stirred up by the water.
So we learn to start with ourselves – cleaning out the dirt at the bottom of our own lives first. We ask others to see if our vessel is clean; or simply take note when someone else points out we have some dirt left over within. And we polish and sweep and wipe as many times as needed to keep our little containers ready to fill with pure water. Of course, just like any pail left outside, it will start to collect more dirt and dust as it sits, because that’s part of being a part of the great outdoors of society and the world. But if you keep cleaning a little each and every day, that task becomes easier and simpler each time.