As the days grow shorter and the skies here in the Bay Area are increasingly overcast, we find ourselves spending more of our waking hours in the darkness of wintertime. Throughout the world, this season of darkness is a time when our attention turns to the light of wisdom taught by the true teachers of our faith communities. In the Buddhist traditions of Japan, December is the month in which we celebrate Sakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment seated beneath the Bodhi Tree and look to the light of his wise teachings for comfort and guidance.
With the dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections that we are seeing throughout the world, I find that the darkness is not only in the skies, but also in my own mind. As the holidays approach, I crave the freedom to invite a big group of family and friends over for a yearend celebration. In years past, we might have had five or six families crowded around our table, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder laughing loudly and enjoying exuberant conversation. The house reverberated with happy voices raised over the sound of squealing children who chased each other around the dining room, passing toys back and forth, and pausing occasionally to plunge their hands into a bowl of fruit to pluck out a strawberry or a grape.
When our lives were turned upside down with the outbreak of the pandemic in the spring, I had naively expected that we would be returning to our previous way of living by this point in the year. At times, I blame others and feel angry about the fact that this coronavirus continues to spread widely here in the United States, while it seems to be largely under control in some other countries.Continue reading “The Light of Wisdom Shining in the Darkness”