By: David Xi-Ken Shi
As we begin our understanding of the Buddhist principles and begin to awaken to how the Universe is as we take in the world around us, we begin to recognize dharma as it is reflected in these experiences. It is interesting to me that as we expand our mental horizon the dharma can often take on a personal quality. Many students speak of dharma in personal terms, even if they do not know they are doing so. Mindful Meditation can be an intense experience for example, and the dharma can be revealed during these sitting periods. Meditation is intensely personal as we confront the rigors of body-mind discovery on the cushion. Why does dharma seem to appear at times so personal, but in itself is a Universal reality?
When we encounter a dharma expression, and another encounters it too, recognition appears the same between us. Its like when we touch a hot stove, it hurts; the same is true when someone else touches a hot stove, it hurts in the same way. You see, the physics surrounding a hot stove exists for its own sake, yet from these experiences a source of wisdom grows. Dharma is just dharma, it is how we connect and internalize our experiences with it that helps shape how we see the world around us that makes a difference in how we react to it. It is our experience and actions that help shape how we are, not dharma directly. Although both dharma and our own actions functions within the same laws of causality.
We can not know what brought us here as humans expressing this Universal reality. When we begin life we are like a blank page, but over time as we encounter the dharma we begin to gain understanding of how the Universe expresses itself, and this understanding helps shape who we are and how we live our lives. It is a strange feeling that we can not know what brought this existence. When we sit in concentrated silence and focus on the breath, the inhalation and the exhalation, we might have a sense of it. But as we live and breath, and live out our life-cycle from beginning to end, the dharma will continue to express reality just as it is.