Cora in the morning
Yesterday Tsering led our group on a walking meditation. Tibetans call it Cora and it is often translated as circumambulation. We circled the mountain of the Dalai Lama temple and residence. It was especially auspicious because the Dalai Lama was there, it was the day before his birthday and so we “circled” him with our prayers for his long life and happiness. Toward the end of the walk we passed a little café where an enterprising and very cheerful Indian has built a little café on the mountainside—very simple, little more than a shack and a table and some charis. We had stopped in for Chai the day before. He must sleep in his little café over the night because as we came by he was just waking up. He saw us passing. He wished us a good morning and then began to lift his voice exuberantly. “It is a good morning, I can breathe, I am alive, I can see you walking by me. I am breathing, I am alive. Joy, joy joy.” Only wish that the words I write here could capture the singing melody it came in, the wonderful Indian accent that builds the high notes right into it and turns the sentence up a note or too at the close of every phrase. I can’t capture it now. You had to be there and hear it—Luckily I was there—by grace or providence or luck.
On Cora, it is hard to know what to expect but during prayers and mediation it is important to be vigilant. I had been “attending to my breath” (aka huffing and puffing) while I was ascending a steep grade. However, I was not attending as deeply as the shopkeeper. I joked to the group and to Tsering—he was a fully realized master. I hadn’t expected to gain enlightenment on the walk or to meet anyone on the edge of nirvana—but there I was face to face with a seemingly ordinary café owner who had learned to measure his breath. Joy! Joy! Joy! I am breathing, I am writing to you! Joy! Joy! Joy! You are reading this, Your eyes are working. Life is a precious gift. Tashi Delek.