Night of awareness and delight in every step. The streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand are vibrant with ancient and modern life. Club-goers hitching a way on to the next party as the longstanding monuments and deities bear witness to the evolving and changing reality. In silence they witness the unfolding of human pleasures and suffering. The temples that enrich the city with their astonishing presence, house sacred ancient wisdom, and the streets filled with people from all over the world offer an exquisite opportunity for this wisdom to be applied.
The path of the warrior is understood in the path itself. Every step a lesson, every corner a new opportunity of testing the training received. Each challenge met with a kind heart, in awe of the wonder of this miracle we call life; yet alert and astute in readiness for the next step, a warrior stands. She remains calm and steadfast, soft and supple yet ready to strike when necessary. Instinct:::Reactiveness to the instant.
The path of the monk is to observe, to find equilibrium and equanimity despite the surrounding madness. All is madness, and despite that, adhitthana, strong determination, supports the monk in his quest for balance. The whirlwind is but an illusion and distraction, the path of the monk teaches to find with-in, what is, and can never be found with-out (think about this for a moment).
Only with strong adhitthana may we learn thoroughly the lessons and beauty in every challenge. That is why any disciplined practice, which requires proper effort in the development of awareness and a deeper understanding of compassion, necessarily demands strong determination to succeed.
But alas, some lessons can never be learned in a temple, be it made of walls, flesh and bone or defined by culture or ideal. Some lessons require the battlefield and proper action in order to be well understood and integrated. The battlefield: our mind; our greatest opponent: ourselves as prey to attachment. Only in the very instant that action is required are we tested on our training and reactiveness. Are we to act on the instant and trust our in-stinct, or are we to remain equanimous and trust the changing nature of all? Neither understanding can be achieved passively, as it is the challenges that define the path. It is through suffering that suffering is transcended, and pain one of our greatest teachers. The only way out is through, be it in combat or in stillness, they are both one and the same.
And as they have for centuries, the temples remain, continuing to bear witness to the passing of every spark of consciousness and awareness, as it rises and it falls in and out of existence, as travelers come and they go, and children are born and sages are gone. Anicca, the impermanence of all!
Greetings from Thailand!