POWER & OTHER POWER PLAY TOGETHER
Buddha taught an Eightfold Path in which both samadhi and action,
vision and livelihood, effort and impulse, have their place. We
may conceptualise what we do as doing or as non-doing; it does
not matter. We can say that ideas of practice, meditation, charity,
study and training are self-power while reciting the name and
visualising the Pure Land are other power - but what is the difference
really? The Buddha Way cannot be so easily divided against itself.
The essential thing is to allow ourselves to be helped and to
allow ourselves to feel grateful and to allow ourselves to be
moved. All will reaches its consununation in willingness, but
it may take a little will sometimes to get to that point. I remember
years ago I used to play chess. There are two ways to play chess
- calculation and intuition. Sometimes you calculate: if I move
this piece, he will probably move that one and then I could do
this.. or I could do that.. and so on. It works, up to a point.
After one has been putting a lot of energy into calculating moves
for a time, you may suddenly realise that you have seen a perfect
move without any calculation at all. Intuition has suddenly unaccountably
come into play. It feels quite different. For a little while one
plays with a certain confidence (or faith). One calculates less
and allows the game to play itself, as it were. Then disaster.
It all falls apart. The intuitive source, whatever it may be,
deserts. At that point there is nothing for it but to go back
to working it all out from scratch again. Then, when we have begun
to forget about it, the intuitive genius mysteriously creeps up
on us again.
Calculation and intuition thus each feed each other. If one never
made the effort involved in calculation and thought that good
play would somehow just happen to you, you would be sure to be
disappointed. On the other hand, if you are not willing to slip
into the flow when it starts to burgeon, you will never make the
best play. Calculation is a bit like self power. Intuition is
other power. 0 course, we can be clever with words and say, what
is the 'self in self-power? and we would be right to do so in
a way, because none of the power that we call self is really our
own. But as a makeshift, these terms work. They help guide our
lives. Used in this light, non-dogmatic sense, they are useful.
I think this is how the Buddha used words. I do not think that
he was a scholar playing with clever definitions. He spoke the
language of ordinary folk. So at this ordinary level, self power
and other power dance together and we must accept the grace that
comes and accept its absences too. Namo Amida Buddha.
first appeared, with the Author's permission, in PLN 10, September
1997. Republished here in agreement with the compiler/editor of
the inaugurate hard copy Journal. The Author, any person or any
organisation credited, quoted or connected with this article are
cordially invited to contact me with any comments, amendments,
fresh contributions or complaints. email