Friday, July 30, 2010

Flower Teachings

I made a commitment to gladiolas about a dozen years: they are the only annual bulb (corm, actually) that i am willing to plant in the spring, dig up in the fall, and store during the winter.

Gladiolas start blooming in mid-July and flower though the end of August. Life daffodils, there are early season varieties, mid-season, and late season.

Early this week i harvested a bumper crop of glads, and my sweetie told me to take some of them to the retreat center when i left home on Tuesday. What a good idea! An offering--a form of generosity--unusual in the West, but an everyday occurrence at every temple in Asia.

I put the vase of a dozen blooming stalks of gladiolas on the retreat center manager's desk, and she promptly arranged them beautifully and placed them in the room where we met with Rinpoche. While he gave us mind-bending teachings on egolessness, the flowers offered their own simple lesson in impermanence. Every day the bottom flower on the stalk wilts, just as every day, every moment of our experience also wilts and fades away.

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