“failing” (a response to Marcus)

One of the most touching points, for me, in Marcus’ speech, was the matter of fact affirmation and admonition that, “I’m going to fail.”

There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t fail, obviously or subtly, outwardly or inwardly. A wonderful thing that I’ve learned from the teachings is not to get upset with myself about it. I observe with what mind I made this mistake, and, as Marcus put it, “re-orientate” myself.

Reading his speech, I was immediately reminded of the first meeting I had with Ven. Sandima. We were discussing the focus on breath in meditation.”When you find you have wondered away,” he said, “don’t get upset or angry at yourself, just come home! Return to your home!”

In Sandima Bikkhu’s analogy, “home” was the breath, but the same analogy may be applied to the precepts (among many other things), making them your home to return to, again and again. Another wonderful thing about this is that you are essentially learning to forgive yourself. Once you experience that forgiveness in yourself, how can you not then extend it to others?