bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: samsara

children’s lesson: samsara


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As I mentioned in my last post, for the past two weeks, my family has been hidden away at the foot of a small mountain in New Hampshire.  This quiet wintery retreat was an  ideal setting to connect and spend lots of time talking about my favorite topic:  spirit.

One of my favorite teaching moments was during a snowman-making session.  After a fun sledding adventure and snowy tromp through the woods, my 4 year old XG and I spontaneously began to build “Frosty  the Snow Gobes” in the front yard.  We rolled and packed and stacked.  I encouraged XG to take his time, to enjoy the process, to make each ball as round and smooth and perfect as he could.

The snowman, as it turned out, was a perfectly kid-size lesson in samsara.

Our efforts that afternoon would give birth, so to speak, to a wintery masterpiece.   Frosty the Snow Gobes would stand adorably near the entrance to our home and happily greet all who visited.  He seemed like a pretty sturdy guy, but, as I told XG, he was changing by the second.  Melting, freezing, shifting.  And soon, when the weather changes, when an accident happens, Frosty would only exist in our memories.  So it’s important that we enjoy the experience of building him and admiring him while he’s here.  And with the next big snow storm, we could come out and build a snowman all over again.

XG and I chatted about this as we played in the snow.  I told him that everything and everyone here on earth is part of a cycle called samsara.  We are born, we have experiences, we die.  We are born, we have experiences, we die.  We are born, we have experiences, we die.  The experiences live forever; but life that is born from the earth is only here for a short time.  It needs to be returned to the earth to make room for new life with new experiences.  This includes people, animals, trees, homes, cars, electronics and, of course, snowmen.  It’s how the earth works.  And it’s all okay.  It’s all natural.  And when we can understand that every atom on Earth participates in samsara, we can understand how perfectly connected we are to everyone and everything.

XG didn’t have much to say about the impromptu lesson, but he was listening carefully.  The door was open for him to ask questions if he needed, and that’s what was most important to me.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  Please share this with bu-curious friends.  Thank you!  🙂

bu-review: samsara directed by ron fricke

This is not a movie.  It’s a meditation.  Samsara is a breathtaking arrangement of moving pictures depicting spiritual life and landscape around the globe.  Without words or plot, this stirring film manages to tell a captivating story, to evoke high drama and powerful emotion.

There was one part that was really weird:  an American-looking man in a business suit does some crazy shizzle with clay.  It didn’t seem to jive with the rest of the presentation, but at least it conjured a laugh from the audience.  Besides that, I really loved it.

There were two ideas in particular that settled neatly into my mind as I exited the theatre.  The first was a clear image of samsara, or the unending cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.  Not only the human cycle, but the cycle that we create through our own acts.  We manufacture, we use, we throw away. We manufacture, we use, we throw away.  Not only every day things (appliance, electronics, automobiles), but also our houses of worship (ancient ruins, temples and homes).  The second idea that I received fully was that we are all the same.  The film communicated this very simply.  Fricke set up pictures of people from all different races and cultures staring at the audience from the other side of the camera.  Staring into the eyes of another, without inhibition or fear, I could sense connectedness, oneness.

On a personal side note, I snuck out on a Thursday night to catch a showing of Samsara in Cambridge.  I arrived early, nestled into my seat, all alone, took a deep breath and relaxed.  I quickly became engrossed in the film’s imagery, floating around the scenes like hovercraft.  I was abruptly jerked back to Earth when my husband surprised me with his presence, climbing over legs to reach the seat next to mine.  For the next 40 minutes, he shoveled swollen handfuls of popcorn into his mouth and breathed heavily through his nose, occasionally leaning over to offer me a bite or identifying a photo, “That’s in Utah.”   Thanks for being so thoughtful, honey.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa