Thursday, August 8, 2019

Clear Seeing

The teacher at the retreat talks bout sati-sampajanna. Sati means mindfulness. Usually sampajanna is translated as “clear comprehension,” but I’m trying to expand my sense of the word. Sometimes it’s referred to as “seeing and knowing” things as they really are.

English has a huge vocabulary for the material world, but it’s rather poverty-stricken when it comes to words that describe the inner world and the spiritual world.  Just think. Until just  25 years ago, we didn’t have the words metta, loving kindness, and self-compassion in the dictionary. The words Dharma, karma, and mindfulness were known only to a select few; now they are the n common usage.

Sam- means  whole or complete, though it’s often translated at “right” meaning proper. The ending -nna is the same as our word know. (In Greek, gnosis.)  Now the question is: Which kind of knowing?Eskimos May have 28 words for snow, but English has only one word know to cover many shades of meaning.

As I contemplate this, my personal translation of sampajanna becomes “complete knowing.”

Hmmm. I walk down to the end of the driveway, and there is beautiful Mount St. Helens with a blanket of snow on top of her two rounded peaks. On this clear day, I can clearly see. And knowing (which kind?) is omnipresent.

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