Posted inHenry's Messages, Koans, Meditations, Mindfulness

Message from Henry: Third Paramita, Kshanti, Patience (Part 2 of 3)

April 11, 2017

…try allowing yourself to surrender to what is, just enough to taste the peace, an everlasting timeless peace…

Read Part 1 of the Third Paramita.

Last week’s message touched on patience with our practice as an aspect of kshanti: that is, learning that an important part of our practice is allowing our meditation experiences to be as they are. Here we might sense a little parting of the ways with the so-called “mindfulness movement” – which is often presented, at least in the press, as a means precisely to feel the way we want to feel. Just as modern yoga is sometimes presented as a way to have “the body you want,” so the mindful movement, it is said, can help you “have the mind you want.”

But these kinds of approach overlook an important element of any spiritual practice, which is to be freed of the very “wanting what we want.” Buddha identified the source of all suffering as desire, craving, wanting, grasping (thirst, as he put it).

Kshanti is the opposite of all that. It says: so be it, so be it.

Please try allowing yourself to surrender to what is, just enough to taste the peace, an everlasting timeless peace, contained in the infinite wisdom of that phrase. So. Be. It.

From all the above, it becomes easier to be patient with others too. After all, each person, each being we meet, is the whole vast universe coming to say hello. As one koan asks: “Meeting on the road a person who has accomplished the way, how will you greet them?”

Actually the person is the fully accomplished way. So how will we greet it?

Joko Beck has an illustration of this: suppose we’re out rowing a boat on a lake, and another boat bumps into ours. We turn round and see a middle-aged man at the oars. What an idiot! we think, and anger flares.

But suppose we turn round and see a young child at the oars: how would we feel then? Or suppose we turn round and see no one at the oars: the other boat is empty. What do we feel then?

Click here to read Part 3.


Message from Henry is from our April 11, 2017 Newsletter.
Image: Amazing, by Bessi, CC0 Public Domain, from

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