Category Archives: Empress Wu

Expanding beyond laundry reality

We can become hardened by the day according to our routine and rituals. Meditation can make us like the mailman delivering hope through the rain, sleet, snow and hail of our daily weather accumulation.
 
Good Morning,
“There never was a “mystic” who considered himself anything but a realist.  He had seen Reality with his own eyes, had been in living contact with it. Suddenly the merciless “realism” of politicians, the know-how without wisdom of practical people, seemed wildly unrealistic, a dangerous conceit.”- Frederick Franck
On our travels, Julia and I discussed the above quote by Frederick Franck, the humanitarian author, painter, sculptor, whose Pachem in Terris (Peace on Earth) in Warwick NY is a sculpture garden/sanctuary dedicated what is human in every human.  
It is incredible that with such a broad expansive universe available to us, internally and externally, how easy it is to get invested in the petty fear-based reality painted by the media.  Julia said that artists have the opportunity to help people remember their choice of focus so we don’t have to be so invested in a ‘reality’ that denigrates us.
Here is a story from Frederick Franck’s book Messenger ofthe Heart:
“Some 1400 years ago a brilliant woman, the Empress Wu, ruled over China.  She became deeply interested in a new school of Buddhist thought, a totalistic view of the universe, which saw the Whole, embracing all universes as a single living organism of mutually interdependent and interpenetrating processes of becoming and un-becoming.
Empress Wu asked one the Founders of (this) Hwa Yen or Kegon School, Fa Tsang (643-712) if he could give her a practical demonstration of this cosmic inter-relatedness of the One and the Many. (Of how the Whole relates to us and we relate to each other.)
Fa Tsang went to work and appointed one of the palace rooms so that eight large mirrors stood at the eight points of the compass.  Then he placed two more mirrors, one on the ceiling and one on the floor. A candle was suspended from the ceiling in the center of the room.  When the Empress entered, Fa Tsang lit the candle.  Fa Tsang pointed at the reflection of the flame in each one of the ten mirrors and said:
“See, Your Majesty, this demonstrates the relationship of the One and the Many.” The Empress (asked) “What is the relationship of each creature to the others?”
Fa Tsang answered: “Just watch, Your Majesty, how each mirror not only reflects the one flame in the center. Each mirror also reflects the reflection of the flame in all the other mirrors, until an infinite number of flames fills them all. All these reflections are mutually identical; in a sense they are interchangeable, in other sense each one exists individually. This shows the true relationship of each being to its neighbor, to all that is…of course I must point out that this is only a rough, approximate, and static parable of the real state of affairs in the universe. For the universe is limitless and in it all is in perpetual, multidimensional motion.”
Kegon expresses this relationship by the formula:
One in All
All in One
One in One
All in All
 
I often rail against, what I call the laundry reality.  That is, getting mired by the endless chores and not getting to create as much as I would like or forgetting to see the larger picture.  This story reminds me that within every task and moment we are being invited to connect right where we are with whatever is at hand.
May your week reflect your expansiveness back at you.