Want Nirvana? How to knock stuff out of the way

Perfection is just waiting to happen. All you have to do is get something out of the way.

You don’t have to build nirvana.

You just have to knock out something that’s in the way of the natural enlightenment waiting to happen.

–Shinzen Young at the 2011 Buddhist Geeks Conference

So how do you know something out of the way? How about practicing SAUCA and APARIGRAHA?

Over the next  week, totally get into Sauca. Clean and organize your home, car, office or work space.  Also complete your taxes, pay any back taxes or make arrangements to do so. Also payoff or settle any outstanding debts.

That’s part of my homework in my yoga philosophy class at the Ventura Yoga Studio with Bryan Legere. Easier said than done if you ask me.

However, my husband and I spent Sunday cleaning the house then I worked on the yard while he cleaned out our van. I’ve been in the process of reorganizing my office and all of my books since I inherited my mom’s desk, books and other furniture in September. My day today will include a run to the credit union to pay off my credit card and to make a phone call to another credit card that continues to make the same mistake (charging me a late fee when I haven’t used the card!) A big goal for November is getting our 2010 taxes done and the 2011 paperwork in order–but that certainly isn’t going to happen this week.

I definitely see a connection between sauca (cleanliness, purity, inside and out) and how chaos, mess, grunge and “stuff” gets in the way of following our dharma. You might even extend it to the food we eat and the ways we cover and move in our bodies. Practicing sauca is a form of taking care of business so that you are free to move in all directions–especially in the direction you are being guided.

I can also see where this is related to last week’s homework, to reflect on aparigraha, a sanskrit word which translates as not-stealing or coveting or hoarding that can also be interpretted as not letting go. If you have worked through this yama, it is much easier to practice Sauca!

In fact, practicing the yamas (all of them, not just sauca and aparigraha) offers us some direction on how to get “stuff” out of the way to find our path.

Pictured above is a detail of a fabric thangka created by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, one of the few westerners trained in this rare Buddhist art.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessings to Leslie’s work and encouraged her to make images that speak to the spiritual aspirations of people across religions and cultures. Leslie’s fascinating story is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film, Creating Buddhas: the Making and Meaning of Fabric Thangkas.

Click here to order a custom print of the thangka from Leslie.

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