Reading Gesture of Great Love, the newest book from the Time Space Knowledge series by Tarthang Tulku. Striking quite a different tone from TSK itself (still my favorite), it is immediate and refreshing, appropriately urgent. Yet, there’s a friendliness which pervades the book too, similar to another given to me earlier this year, Radically Happy. Both focus on greeting life with openness and ease day-by-day, and both could be given to a person who isn’t on a Buddhist path necessarily.

I can’t see yet whether the text will sustain this urgent tone, but in an early portion the author zeroes in on that narrow-minded scriptwriter I’ve mentioned before, who in my case had become adept at mimicking my inner guidance system. Here, that scriptwriter is called “the regime.”

I’m fond of sword metaphors and Taoist themes because there is a focus on energy. Things can happen to offset chi, affecting whether a character’s skills remain capable. It could something as subtle as a barely perceptible fragrance that fills the air, or a tune similar to a soothing one. Parsing out said deviations, exposing them, could take countless eons.

So, the book so far suggests parser and loop as entangled, involved in mutually assured entrapment, and knowing this as the way to step out entirely (never any trap nor person to be trapped).

Image of Lan Wanji (played by Wang Yibo), a character from The Untamed I like a ridiculous amount.

So what about the Bodhisattva ideal Mahayana posits as worthwhile aspiration? “Beings are limitless; I vow to save them all.” This doesn’t mean to save as in a hero-person acting as a savior to “beings”–it rather cracks open that notion, as in the story of Avilokitesvara, who exhausted his capacity to empty the hell realms over and over again, before sprouting eleven heads and a thousand arms.

I like how, in the version of the story below, Amitaba Buddha is a sort of father figure, dusting off their child, giving them new and better armor to better fulfill their longing:

One prominent Buddhist story tells of Avalokiteśvara vowing never to rest until he had freed
all sentient beings from saṃsāra. Despite strenuous effort, he realizes that many unhappy
beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, his head splits into eleven pieces. Amitābha, seeing his plight, gives him eleven heads with which to
hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them,
Avalokiteśvara tries to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that his two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitābha comes to his aid and invests him with
a thousand arms with which to aid the suffering multitudes. [WIKIPEDIA] [31]

Even so, I’ve long been drawn to the quote “The foolish are trapped by karma; the wise are liberated by it” because of this dynamic…(beings as) bridges opening and closing the gates, even if only to display that there are no gates, no beings to open them for. Time pointing to no time, endlessly. Is this what Dogen calls Ceaseless Practice?

No suffering, no end of suffering…

Human beings become exhausted when they attempt to hold and manage karma, to respond out of ideologies, but the Bodhisattva is (made of) Love. There’s no draining voice in Avilokitesvara’s mind repeating “I’m tired…” There’s nowhere for such a voice to be generated from nor to land.


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