A life dedicated to service...

Week 8: This glass is already broken

Venerable Ajahn Chah (1918-1992) was a much loved monk in the Theravada tradition of (Thai) Buddhism. His teaching style has been described as ‘wonderfully simple.’ He once began a talk by motioning to a glass at his side.

“Do you see this glass?” he asked. “I love this glass. It holds the water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.”

To me, he points to the brittleness of ‘my’ life, a string of events that began 73.6 years ago and is guaranteed to end some day. Part of me understands these facts, but my ego — that small self deep within — cannot (yet) comprehend such a fate. There it is, the aim of our year-long project: to make friends with our built-in obsolescence! And to do this urgently: “Do not to waste your time by night or day.”*

Kindly read Colleen‘s poignant encounter with the glass already broken . . .

With this guided meditation I invite you to explore three distinct phases in each breath cycle.

*Last line of the chant Sandokai by Zen teacher Sekito Kisen, 700–790, based on 2c Taoist text.

About the Author
Peter lives in Victoria, BC, where he volunteers in health-care. teaches mindfulness meditation, and offers end-of-life care.

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