Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Maha Ghosananda: Temple of Human Experience

I have this little book, Step By Step: Meditations on Wisdom & Compassion, by Maha Ghosananda. (The book seems to be out of print. Maybe if enough people ask for it, Parallax Press will reissue it.) If you don't know who Ghosananda was, check him out here. He is sometimes called the Gandhi of Cambodia. 

This morning I read this short excerpt from a chapter titled, "We Are Our Temple." This is the kind of teaching that occasionally hits me right between the eyes:

We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to the Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will then become our temples. We have so much work to do.  
This will be a slow transformation, for many people throughout Asia have been trained to rely on the traditional monkhood. Many Cambodians tell me, "Venerable, monks belong in the temple." It is difficult for them to adjust to this new role., but we monks must answer the increasingly loud cries of suffering. We only need to remember that our temple is always with us. We are our temple.

May all beings be free.

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