Friday, November 25, 2011

Enlightenment and Demon Duty

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A couple of weeks ago I escaped from clinic to join friend David Ison for a picnic in Eldorado Canyon State Park. It was a GORGEOUS fall day.  The sky showed up as turquoise blue. The aspen tree leaves were just beginning to turn yellow gold against the deep green pine trees. As we sat on a mountainside over looking the canyon,  David told me the story of Buddha's encounter with the demon that was working to distract him from achieving enlightenment.

Buddha was near the end of day 40 of his time under the Bodhi tree. He was poised to achieve enlightenment. Well the demon of darkness couldn't tolerate the idea of a mortal walking on earth full of light and wanted to stop the process. He summoned up his three beautiful daughters...."Dear Buddha... please wake up. Look at what you are missing." The Buddha remained sitting - peaceful eyes closed.

"Hmmm," thought the demon, "That didn't work. Let's try another approach." Next the demon summoned the forces of war and death. The war and death demons yelled and clashed their swords. Untouched, undisturbed the Buddha remained sitting - peaceful eyes closed.  Near him, everywhere an arrow landed near him, a flower sprouted.

Getting desperate the demon was stumped for a moment. "How am I going to stop this process? This guy is getting real close to achieving  embodied enlightenment. Life on earth won't look the same if he is successful. If he achieves this, people everywhere will realize that freedom is also available for them. AH HA. I have it." That tricky demon of darkness then took the form of the demon of duty.

"Dear Buddha... Please stop that sitting under the tree. You have duties to attend to in this world." Uh oh.. our hero Buddha's attention wavered for a millisecond. In that moment the earth goddess took form and placed herself between the demon duty and Buddha and proclaimed. "This is my son. He has done his duty. Leave him in peace." The demon retreated. Buddha was granted his last, necessary minutes to achieve enlightenment and the rest is history.

Well after hearing David's story I was left with several thoughts. The first was that I wished I was done with duty and had forty days to sit in silence under a Bodhi tree. Once I was able to acknowledge that was probably not my path this life time. I moved on to another learning from the story. It reaffirmed the  importance of the earth in helping me balance my outer commitments to duty in the world and  commitment to activities that help me embody more light in my life. It is while in communion with earth and sky, water and sun, dirt, plants, animals I am best able to hold and balance duty and the cultivation of inner light.

So I ask you... what does your balance of duty and enlightenment look like today?

With gratitude... Sharon
(More of David's journey and tools to promote the integration of light and body can be found at his website

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