Bodhi Day 2020 is on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Today December 4, 2020, Day 4 of the Bodhi Season.
One of the “Top Five” defining moments of my life happened 50 years ago in the 3rd grade. On one of those days, the teacher talked to us about buoyancy and provided a demonstration of this big word for the class.
She placed an egg in a tall glass beaker and filled it with water. The egg sat at the bottom of the glass. She dumped all the contents, refilled the beaker, added a lot of salt, mixing it thoroughly. Finally, she dropped the egg in the heavily salted water … and tah-dah … it floated!
She pointed to me and asked, “Why does the egg float now?” Easy! Paraphrasing my response, heavily laced in a Hawaii pidgin accent and 3rd grade vocabulary, I said, “The salt water is heavier than the egg, so it floats.”
“Wrong!! Class, why does the egg float?”
The rest of the class in joyful unison: “Buoyancy!”
I don’t recall exactly what I thought at the moment, beyond the embarrassment of giving the “wrong” answer to what was apparently a very simple question. But I can still feel that shock of realizing for the first time that I thought differently than the other students. Not better, just different.
Different is good. Variety is the basis for the resilience of species, in fact, of Life on Earth. Lots of things can kill off individual creatures. But far fewer things can drive an entire species to extinction when there are unique sets of variation among all the members.
Your differences is a precious phenomenon of Life on Earth. I emphasize the plural, differences. Every creature of a species is built on the same frame, but interact with other creatures through unique and evolving combinations of attributes. Everyone else in that 3rd grade class had their similar day, even if it was just being the only one who likes pineapple on pizza.
Those unique combinations of attributes are relatively small compared to the underlying frame. And change is constant, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but perpetual. That balance of variety and perpetual change as it is gives rise and continuity to Life on Earth.
Seeing this is Bodhi. Go outside and experience it all with all your senses, not through an Internet connection.
As I scan over the 50 years following that day in the 3rd grade, I recall very many more moments like that. In fact, there probably will be a few today soon after I click the Publish button and join a string of Zoom meetings. Today a few people will ask me for “just one number” and I’ll need to tell them “it depends”. Thank God for both of us! Neither of us the hero nor the villain, both of us the Yin and Yang that makes all that neat stuff.
Faith and Patience,
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku