Dharma Seeds

So many seeds! Sow many seeds? The desert is awash with golden to brownish-yellow seed heads on rabbit brush, sage, buckwheat, yarrow, and many other species. It is a panorama of fuzzy, knobby, and star-shaped coifs—autumnal hairdos gracing the landscape with potential new life. I do not know the statistics, but I wonder how many of the millions of seeds, just in the area surrounding me in this moment, will find the conditions to germinate

Some seeds will be eaten by birds, rabbits, pronghorn, and other critters. Others will drop or be carried on the wind, landing on rocky outcrops that do not hold enough moisture. A plethora of causes and conditions need to be in place for a seed to germinate. It boggles the mind. Yet, some will indeed germinate and grow into another generation of plants. Nature is a miraculous display of possibilities.

I think about all the Dharma seeds scattered by all the Dharma teachers over thousands of years. How many have really sprouted? In my small corner of the Dharma world, I calculate my talks over the past 30 years number in the thousands, reaching thousands of ears, but only a few seriously practice. Out of those few, only a handful of seeds will sprout and grow to maturity. I am hoping for at least a few. 

This is way of the Dharma. It requires fertile soil in the mind, watered by the insight gained in meditation, to grow a buddha. This awakened being then blesses everyone without exception with the aroma of a fully open flower, a fully realized plant. The Kuntuzangpo prayer says billions of buddhas are dispatched to teach sentient beings. This means the Dharma is planting a seed within you right now. Will you water it? Will you blossom?

How would we know if the Dharma seed planted in us is sprouting? It is quite simple. We are no longer fixated on ourselves. We inhabit a quality of mind that seeks to express itself through planting seeds of compassion for all beings. St. Francis of Assisi wrote a prayer that is an exquisite reminder:

Lord, [or Buddha—all the enlightened ones] make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

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