I have been a little remiss in blogging recently. I started this post a few days ago, various issues at work took my mind of finishing it.
A while ago I was thinking about a lottery. It was a roll-over week that has a big payout, with a jackpot of about £17 million pounds. I had some unexpected bills, and I couldn’t help thinking that it would be nice to win enough money to pay these off immediately. The Nandinatha Sutras forbid gambling, but intellectually I started to justify placing a bet. I thought that if Shiva let me have a really big win I could do something good with it, build a temple, donate to charities, all sorts of things. Surely this wouldn’t be wrong! Perhaps this Sutra was for people who had gambling problems and who would be selfish with the winnings. It’s amazing how your mind can start to justify what you want to do as being the right thing to do.
SUTRA 76: GAMBLING IS FORBIDDEN
Siva’s devotees are forbidden to indulge in gambling or games of chance with payment or risk, even through others or for employment. Gambling erodes society, assuring the loss of many for the gain of a few. Aum.
Later that evening I went for a walk from our house, still wondering whether to buy a ticket. As I walked along a road that goes along the edge of a valley, the sun was setting and the view was so beautiful that it totally held me in the moment, taking my breath away. At that moment all was right, the beauty of the world filled my spirit. I saw how we have so much, and a few unexpected bills are nothing compared to the beautiful world we live in.
I thought of getting my camera to capture the sunset, though by the time I got home the moment had passed and the sun was below the horizon. This seemed right too, the spiritual inspiration was of the moment, it happened then and could not be captured. Not only was the time and place just right, but I was just right to experience the moment. The picture at the beginning of this post is of a sunset seen from our garden a couple of years ago.
Contemplating the moment I realised that thinking of winning money and helping Shiva was completely wrong. The most beautiful and ornate temple that we can build is only a garbha (shrine) in Shiva’s great temple, the universe. What makes a temple is the people helping and resourcing it through dharmic means, money earned honestly, and there is no short cut.
Later someone posted a talk by Bodhinatha on finding peace and contentment. Part of this made me recall the sunset:
Have you noticed any concern you might carry always bears upon the past or the future? … To dissolve any concern therefore, all one has to do is guide awareness to the present.
I can see how this passage and the memory of the eternity of the moment also reflects on issues at work, and could help me be more patient with my family. I hope that it will become something that I can live more, rather than just understand.