This is a friend of ours who first came to the temple about nine years ago. He has the slight misfortunate of having a girlish name, Maeli (“Plums Blossoming,” poor guy), but he seems to be okay with it!
One of the interesting things about him is that he’s taken on the job of defending the temple, and here he’s actually on station at the entrance to the nun’s quarters. He’ll start barking if a layperson comes too close to the entrance, and sometimes, for no obvious reason at all, he’ll start barking at someone in the courtyard. The thing is, since he came here, there have been no instances of pick pockets or of people trying to rob the donation boxes.
Korean Buddhist texts and ceremonies occasionally mention something called “fragrance of mind.” Like the fragrance of incense, it weaves here and there, unseen and un-graspable. And it is the results of the efforts we make to transcend ourselves and to see everything as part of ourselves. It is this fragrance that moves amoung the people in our lives, lifting them up and brightening their path. It’s there all the time, whether we notice it or not.