Sermon XV

Hail to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!

Just as seeds lie dormant in the cold, our Dharma mission retreats into silence, into the deep meditation and introspection. We face the tides of fate and destiny, the karma of this world age, the red dust that lingers. The ebb and flow of life force, of health, of time and priorities that become immediate in the depth of the frigid ice and snow. It is a time to confront the coldness of the world, the true isolation of facing decline, of entropy and weakness that sneak upon youth like a thief. Such a confrontation, of the flowers that fade, of the leaves fallen and encased in snow should prompt one to a deep assessment.

We see a world emerge where nothing is anyone’s fault; there is no personal responsibility, no shame, no remorse, no owning of the guilt. Life is nearly infinite decisions, choices, that either align with Dharma or they do not. A choice either is noble and good for the Way, for one’s Sangha and spiritual family, loved ones, or it is dissipating and detracting. It is part of normalizing toxic behaviors and attributes that seed degenerate anti-Dharma behavior. This is a tactic to destroy the Way in acceptance of the worst as normal. We are told a person has a disease if they are an addict, or they are a victim too if a predator or molester: they are “born this way.” In alchemical terms, this is like the base metal, the lead, embracing its defiled nature as its essence.

The Dharma teaches the opposite. True Human Beings are Buddhas, it is delusion, an unwillingness to accept blame and the truth of the crisis of Being. We are enveloped in complex relationships of karma, of destiny and fate, expressed in genetics, abilities, to family and resources, to geography, inward and outward in health and appearance. Every aspect of existence is expressed through these parameters as experienced by the senses and in this realm. It is this precious incarnation, within this very body that the Great Work of transmutation can be expressed. Here karma and destiny can be transcended and obliterated through strenuous action and devotion, limiting factors and entrenched toxins shattered and purged.

There has to be an authentic diagnostic phase, a reckoning, a self-honesty of one’s true status, the weakness, what levels of spiritual and physical illness has accrued. This is admitting mistakes, wrong, in taking the weight of karma to transmute the regret, the sorrow, the pain into great striving. It is the catalyst to a Mastery what is done with this burden, this unhealing wound, the pain of Being born that has all newborns crying upon entering this world.

Then there must be a true cleanse, purifications, catharsis to remove the toxins, and to heal. This phase blends with rebuilding, with cleansing and removing comes the new modes of thinking, of obtaining and preserving energy in an enlightened inner governance. True healing and insight is born of legitimate exaltation, of that organic natural vital force that arises in peak experiences of attunement with the dharma (the exoteric responsibilities of life) and the Dharma (the Great Work). The exaltation is the secret fire that takes the deep yearning of the base metal lead that longs and suffers from its separation from a Golden state.

Thus we retreat in the Winter, where a mistake can mean death and disaster in the ice of the mountains, to face the abyss that is just beyond the last breath. Thus we long and strive for the Golden, lighting the furnace with the fears, pains, the sorrows of wasted time and energy. The body is the Crucible, the Mind the elixir, and the sacred herbs the alchemical ingredients for producing the Inner Elixir. The dispensing of the sacred means, these skillful methods to ignite the fire, to heal and preserve the Tradition is the goal of this Sangha. We look forward to a year of radiant health and Dharma projects. We thank you for your support and devotion.