When I attended Jukai nearly 30 years ago, I naively thought that I had ‘arrived’. I had become a Buddhist, after a lifetime of spiritual exploration. This was going to heal me. I would move steadily (not necessarily quickly) but smoothly on this new path. What challenges awaited!
As I believe is the case for many trainees, there was a strong element of grasping in my early training. That is fine. It is just the way we are. We transfer our human tendency to grasp from things material and transitory to the spiritual path. Very slowly I have come to a much calmer state from which I try to approach this precious gift the Buddha gave us. Something that helped me was a period of some years during which I drifted away from formal practice, though something inside me hung on just enough. I learnt much during that time. I recall returning to Throssel after a gap of some years and I was greeted as if I had never been away.
The following Tanka poem reflects my experience of that drifting away.
Returning to Buddha
Chasing my desire
I became lost in shadow
Then my heart called
I turned towards the light
Shining as bright as ever