Notes on a Buddhist path

A New Course

September 30, 2013 By | 7 Comments

Although it is difficult to cross over
the storm-swept sea of passion,
those who live in accord
with the well-taught Way
arrive at the beyond. ~
The Buddha, Dhammapada v 86

StarsI remember that feeling as almost a holy insistence. The clear beacon of a found star I sighted nearly six years ago when I landed on a date for the move from my birthplace in the United States to the home I’d found in Canada. Although my schemes and invocations had laid out a path of sorts for this life changing event it was in the choosing of a square on a calendar that gave my decision to leave all I knew its momentum and clarity. It felt as if in that end of deliberation the universe stepped from the darkened wings of my life and escorted me toward a journey that would forever claim a new trajectory in the orbit of my existence.

That feeling is with me again, the knowing of purpose that came with another choice made yesterday morning as I sat in meditation. It was a choosing that I have been toying with for quite some many months, a stilling of the silty waters of the lotus pond to see a clear broadening of the direction I have set out upon as I make my way along the path of the Dhamma. The mire of wondering and planning, of calculations and lurking fears for now seems to have abated and in its place is the sure footing of patient fortitude.

With my plans fixed on a new brilliant star my Buddhist friends tell me the Dhamma may conspire to advance my journey, moving the winds and parting the seas of this world to celebrate my decision, to clear the path I must take to surrender fully into the teachings of the Buddha. And yet it is also the time when Mara, the demon tempter, may toss storms and doubts in my way with all manner of dukkha, the cravings and dangling jewels of the all too ripe fruits of the world.

For now I feel the weighted promise of a sextant’s knowing of the sky before me. The stars laid out in perfect equations, their missive written on the vast waters of this sea of presence, harkening me forward in a casting beyond my vision, but not beyond my heart.

On land one is surrounded on all sides by recognizable objects.
But when one enters the sea, the back is turned to
recognizable objects and the face to something else.

from American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity by Robert Bly (New York: Harper and Row, 1990), 37.

Β Image Credit:

Stars by Fabio Ricco via Flickr Creative Commons


  1. Where are you going? Happy travels in this new stage of life’s journey. πŸ™‚

    • Good to hear from you okei! It’s still a way off, but I’ve decided on a date when I’ll head off for longer retreats and deepening my practice. More details to come in the next couple of years. Blessings to you and thank you as always for your kind words.

  2. Beautifully written Tess. Felt the stars and expanse of sky and the future through you. xo

  3. The comet ISON (after spending uncountable time in the darkness of the Oort Cloud surrounding our galaxy, now making it’s *first* approach of the sun) made its closest encounter of Mars yesterday. An auspicious event: a “New Star / New Course” indeed, “… as if the universe had stepped from the darkened wings of my life and escorted me on a new trajectory in the orbit of my existence”.

    We are all familiar with Goethe’s quote: “A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.”

    Know that this will happen.

    Hmm, is that the impending sound of heaven and earth shaking that I hear?

    • David, I have to say that reading about the timing ISON’s arrival in our solar system is uncanny, if not a bit eerie, in relation to my minor galactic epiphany. From Goethe’s mouth to the Dhamma’s ears.

      Did you hear something? πŸ˜‰


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