|The theme of our last retreat was ‘The Cave of the Blue Dragon’. According to the story, the blue Dragon, who is fierce, is guarding a Pearl of great value, sometimes called the ‘Wish Fulfilling Gem’, or ‘Mani Jewel’. That is the same ‘mani’ as in ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, the national mantra of Tibet, ‘Praise the Jewel in the Lotus’. Imagine living in a country where people greet each other by saying that. When I lived in Korea, fellow Korean meditators would greet each other with a phrase that meant something like, ‘May you become Awakened’.That is the wish that the Mani Jewel can grant, to become awakened.
As I spent time with the cave of the Blue Dragon and the air of danger and difficulty associated with entering the cave, of course there’s the Dragon, but there’s something else. The area between the entrance of the cave and where the Dragon is located is filled with all of the methods, strategies, and unskillful mind habits that I have employed to protect my way of creating suffering for myself. In order to get to the Mani Jewel I have to pick up each one of those and set them aside so I can pass through. That’s what we do in a meditation practice, we don’t get rid of anything, we just put them to the side. But those things that we put to the side are the things that we have been using to navigate our way through our life and putting them aside is like flying blind and that’s scary.What I noticed during the retreat and what others also noticed, was that those things we have to pick up and put aside are actually treasures themselves. Experiencing the relief of putting them aside is a treasure.
The freedom that comes with not relying on anything is a treasure. So for me, the cave of the Blue Dragon and the Storehouse of Treasures got all mixed up. An opportunity to appreciate another facet of the way ordinary mind is the way.