This one starts with suffering. The tears flow unabashedly. The daughter is married and gone to set up home in another city. I cry not for the geographical distance between us, but because it marks the end of a stage in her life and entry into another.I remind myself that I am a baby Buddhist, that all this is attachment, I chide myself for being filmy, a nautanki, “Erica, you’ve seen too many Hindi movies, for your own good”, I throw sarcasm at myself; but the tears feel good, they release me, make me free.
My two truths come to me:
My first truth: ‘I value that, change is the only constant. ‘
My second truth: In this particular case, ‘I am resisting change.’
I cry some more, now tears of acceptance of my two truths, acceptance of the duality of my existence. I am a practitioner of non attachment and I am an attached mother.
I go back and read Thich Naht Hahn’s writings on Buddha’s Two Truths. “In the Discourse on Turning the Wheel of Dharma, the Buddha taught the 4 noble truths. The truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path, but in the Heart Sutra, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara tells us that there is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering and no path.“ Then Thich Naht Hahn goes on to explain that one is the relative truth and other is the absolute truth and that there really is no contradiction when one sees the inter-beingness of things. This is a wonderful teaching in itself, but I take heart from the fact that the Buddha himself had two truths, which on closer inspection merge into one.
I hear the song
“Aamar dotara ta niyey bhai toy ektara ta dey na bhai”
It means take my two stringed instrument, and give me your one stringed one. (When the two stringed instrument plays, it causes storms and violent waves in my heart. I want to live in the one.) Take my two stringed instrument brother, and give me your one stringed one. I have loved this song for long, but a new piece of wisdom comes to me today, the way to true oneness is not to deny the existence of my own two stringed instrument, or quickly exchange it for someone else’s one stringed instrument; the way to oneness, is to play my two stringed instrument with joy, peace and acceptance, possibly one day, the two strings will merge through mindful playing into one. There are no shortcuts. I cannot beg, borrow or steal another’s Oneness; I have to arrive at it through the skilled playing of my own two stringed instrument aka live skillfully through my many truths. And so here I am looking lovingly at a baby Buddhist crying over the growing up of her daughter. I don’t blame you for smiling, I am too. Cessation of suffering.