So at the end of spring coming into summer three fox cubs started making appearances around the hogweed covered banks of the white cart river that runs behind my house. As I’d go for my walk their grubby faces would greet me from the opposite side of the river. They seemed safe with the barrier of the river between them and me. I also presumed mother was watching under the cover.
Anyway a few weeks passed and I became quite fond of the little cubs. I’d even call out to them and there dirty little ears would pick up. But as soon as they had appeared they disappeared. Now logical rational thinking would tell me that momma fox had moved ‘em on down the river bank, or perhaps somewhere more inland. Instead I remembered every story and photo I had seen of the atrocities committed on foxes throughout the British isles. I fully engaged in the idea, with no rational or even a shred of evidence that the little cubs were anything but safe in their den. In my minds eye those poor little guys had met an awful fate. Let us look at the third of the bodhisattva vows, ‘delusions are inexhaustible. Got it?
This is not an isolated thought pattern unique to my nature ramblings and musings. Perhaps your boss said something to you recently that was a little short or rude. Did we presume it was nothing or even because he was tired or stressed? No the monkey mind let rip, delusions flooding. What did they say? What did they mean? The second part of the third vow reads 'I vow to transform them'.
So ‘Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to transform them’. It seems contradictory or impossible to attain, right? But that is the nature of any buddhist vows, unlike christian morality vows buddhist vows are more to be worked towards, we don’t become attached to them we just continue you to chip away or scale the mountain of delusion all the while aware of them.
So rather than becoming upset or too carried away by the disappearance of my fox buddies I should remember that these delusions are inexhaustible and I must continuously work to transform them or over come them and realise that they’re probably living in the woods downstream having a great time of it having some magical fox adventures.
Creations are numberless, I vow to free them
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to transform them
Reality is boundless, I vow to perceive itThe awakened way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it
(Roshi Joan Halifax's Bodhisatva vows)
Tomorrow morning, as with every Saturday, at 8am, I'll be hosting a meditation and discussion on google hangouts. Link here.