Today is (Lunar) Bodhi Day – Collect the Dots then Connect the Dots

Today, January 20, 2021, is the Lunar Bodhi Day! Happy Bodhi Day! Here is a short Bodhi Day story for you to think about.

A hill behind our apartment when we lived in the Phoenix area.

A number of years ago, Mrs. Hanamoku and I lived in Phoenix for about a year. She found what may have been one of best rental apartments there. It’s in a complex built in a foothill canyon. Our apartment was at the end of the canyon where we were hidden from the suburban sprawl. It really seemed like we were in the wilderness, coyotes and all.

Outside our bedroom window was this hill that rose a couple hundred feet above our apartment. Of course, the first thing we did was climb it.

When we got to the top, we found a 180 degree view of the flat lands of the Phoenix area for miles. It was an incredible and rare view since Phoenix is primarily miles and miles of valley basin. However, since we were brand new to the area, we had so many other places to hike that we didn’t again climb up the hill for a few months.

One morning I decided to take a hike up our hill. As I progressed along the trail, going higher and higher, I would notice something and think to myself, “So that’s what’s behind the Safeway!” When I reached the top, I was amazed at the number of similar realizations that rare vantage point provided. “That’s how the trailhead way down Ray connects to here.” “Taking that road to work would be a little faster.”

View from the top of a hill. The information is there, but it must connect to something to be of value.

When I first climbed that hill, the view was wonderful, but it didn’t mean more to me than a nice view. However, after living there for a few months, the view from that vantage point provided answers to many questions I didn’t realize I had. The answers were there right in front of me when I first climbed that hill, but I didn’t have the questions to appreciate them until I lived there for a while. The first time up the hill was like fast-forwarding to see just the spectacular end of a movie.

In regular life, we’re taught many things by “experienced folks” (I’ve been called Boomer a few times lately) that they learned by actually experiencing it. But those bits of wisdom doesn’t mean much because in youth, we may not yet have enough questions. As a profound book may provoke an interesting thought earlier in life, the full implications of that book may not be appreciated until decades later. I’ve often referenced this quote:

“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.” – Robertson Davies

For Mrs. Hanamoku, that book is “The Little Prince”, by Antione de Saint-Exupery. For me … what else could it be? “Siddhartha”, by Herman Hesse, of course.

The answers are already out there somewhere, whether in the mind of a wise, old person or on Google. It just may take years for that information to connect to something meaningful. Collect your dots, connect your dots, throw some away. Keep it all tidy along the way. And never stop collecting dots. It will all click into place.

Well, I’m off to my Bodhi Day service. Then the rice pudding Mrs. Hanamoku made last night.

Faith and Patience,

Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku

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