"For a Buddhist to die in Benares is a path to enlightenment. Today...that's my goal...to die in Benares...and to not leave too heavy a load for you to carry with my name on it. And so it goes I do really try, brinda Namaste"
This was an old blog entry that brinda wrote about how she wants to be in India. Vanaransi is her real haven and in SL, Benares is her haven and a haven for so many others.
I have only known brinda for little over a year, but within months we became close. In me, she found an apprentice or a little student. I have begun to learn and understand the ways of Buddhism and Brindaism (no disrespect meant). She is such a deeply caring and warm person. I have never known anyone like her before. You feel like she "knows" and she is at peace. Not to say that she is always so calm, but she knows how to find her inner peace. She knows how to set her boundaries...that was a big teaching point for me. It is not whining if you tell someone what bothers you about them. However, you must not say it when you are all hysterical. It's like you can't fight well if you're in a rage...you think irrationally and your actions will be jerky and uncoordinated. She would say to me, "Say what you mean/Mean what you say/ And don't say it mean." While this is an old saying, when she said it to me it suddenly was more meaningful. When she spoke, you sat up and listened. She had that sobering, entrancing, listen to this effect on me. Sometimes I'd get distracted if I had to go back and forth between SL and RL, but most of the time I was listening very carefully...maybe more so than even in my favorite classes in school.
The first time she brought me to Benares, she showed me around. She told you to sit in the blue chair, so I sat in it. She explained who lived where. I remember meeting a few people whose names I can't remember. I remember feeling fascinated that she walked so briskly and determined and the chair would follow. But one thing that really fascinated me was that she told me that she was Irish and Buddhist. I think I might've literally dropped my jaw. First, she wears a Qi pao, and then she's a Buddhist and she's American? Whoa.
That shock wore away soon, fortunately. And I began to look forward to our talks about SL, life, and Buddhism. I don't remember how we started talking about Buddhism. Maybe I was curious so I started asking questions...I really don't recall how it started. Anyhow, our friendship has been founded on conversation, straight talk, and a need to learn. Looking back, I also think she valued me because she felt that I was really listening and that she could talk and I wouldnt make any judgments. I hope I was very supportive. I try to be.
By straight talk I mean that she'd sit me down and tell me, "Sweety, life isn't fair." Or "you should know that others may not see things as you do." She once told me that I can "see" as she can. It's the type of seeing that one does with the intuition and mind...I'm not sure how else to describe it. All I know is that she's convinced that I have that sight. I remember feeling flattered and pleased at the compliment. In retrospect, I think that she meant it more as a fact.
One of the most important things she discussed with me is acceptance. We accept that things don't go our way. We accept that life isn't fair. We accept that we have limits, but through it all...we just keep going. Though we may be limited, we never run on an empty tank. Somewhere, we just get this energy to keep on going...this sort of cosmic energy. You could call it hope and ambition...that's what I think it might be.
Though there are things that we don't want to accept or things that we don't think we can accept, there is hope for another day. There is a chance that we will reach nirvana. There is a chance that we will learn to accept what we cannot change.
Be well. Namaste.