Thursday, July 02, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

Last night I slept in the closest thing I could call a home, the park I'm sitting in in the header of this weblog. It was the happiest night I've spent in a long time. I think there is far too little said about the life of a homeless person; the intense suffering of being subject to the elements balanced with the spiritual freedom from ego that comes from being at the bottom of the barrel. What tips the scales, of course, is the bliss of freedom that comes from being alone and unfettered. Which is more than I can say for my "supporters" here, most of whom freaked out when I disappeared... I was expected to stay at one of two houses, neither of which was really willing to have me stay, but when I disappeared, there was considerable consternation. They even searched the park, but I swear the angels of this city were on my side, because I was walked right past without being seen. I slept under a picnic table for both shelter from the wind, and from prying eyes and law-enforcement officers.

'Suppose, O king, there appears in the world one who has won the truth, an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness; happy, who knows all worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows and sees, as it were, face to face this universe - including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmas, and the Maras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahmans, its princes and peoples - and having known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life doth he make known, in all its fullness and in all its purity.

A householder or one of his children, or a man of inferior birth in any class listens to that truth; and on hearing it he has faith in the Tathâgata (the one who has found the truth); and when he is possessed of that faith, he considers thus within himself:

'"Full of hindrances is household life, a path for the dust of passion. Free as the air is the life of him who has renounced all worldly things. How difficult is it for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fullness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection! Let me then cut off my hair and beard, let me clothe myself in the orange-coloured robes, and let me go forth from the household life into the homeless state."

'Then, before long, forsaking his portion of wealth, be it great or small, forsaking his circle of relatives, be they many or be they few, he cuts off his hair and beard, he clothes himself in the orange-coloured robes, and he goes forth from the household life into the homeless state.

'When he has thus become a recluse he lives self-restrained by that restraint that should be binding on a recluse. Uprightness is his delight, and he sees danger in the least of those things he should avoid. He adopts, and trains himself in, the precepts. He encompasses himself with good deeds in act and word. Pure are his means of livelihood, good is his conduct, guarded the door of his senses. Mindful and self-possessed he is altogether happy.

-- SÂMAÑÑA-PHALA SUTTA (Trans. Rhys-Davids)


Again, here's a link to a great Buddhist blog on homelessness:

http://sacramentohomeless.blogspot.com/