Within this opening paragraph, there is the presence of all those who came before, and who dedicated themselves wholeheartedly and completely to reveal themselves in their true nature. The future is implied and depicted in the freedom of riding the clouds and following the wind.

At this juncture in time, swept up in the sensationalism and the dramatization within the media and culture at large, we frequently tend to focus on things breaking apart, on what is wrong with us and with the world. This extends to a critique of the dharma, which allows us to remain at a safe distance from its engagement. We get easily bogged down by a cynical attitude, choosing to note the imperfection of our teachers, the apparent glitches in the logic of the teachings, and the shortcomings in our practice. How could this be happening within the perfection of the dharma? More to the point, how can it be otherwise? After all, this is precisely what the Buddha declared in his earliest teachings. This is just a confirmation of the First and the Second Noble Truths: that life is suffering and that the root of that suffering is our clinging.

This is a beginning—a stepping stone toward making a commitment and taking responsibility for looking at how we can make things better. How can we go beyond settling for that which is so obvious—our capacity for ignorance, greed, and anger? Instead of seeing what is wrong, make it right! You are filled with virtues. Everything that you need is available to you. Take up the challenge, and completely embody your most noble intent. In every gesture, every word, every encounter—embody that love of life, that capacity to see yourself and others clearly.

If there is just a moment when the capacity to care shines from your heart, let the shell start cracking from there. Let the light in, or maybe let the light out. Recognize your virtues in your capacity to give. Give a moment of attention, give a thing, a thought, a word. Offer yourself without stinginess. Feel another’s pain, discomfort, anxiety, and joy. Show just a little bit of concern. Do not turn toward your smallness and your constrictions, but instead, practice the illumination intrinsic to your very nature. Recognize that reality, and then vow to live within in it. Practice that reality, over and over and over. Vow to embrace what is best in yourself, to see yourself for who you really are, to see others for who they truly are. Commit to the virtues that manifest when you abide in your dharma state. Let the perfections of the bodhisattva emerge. Practicing is the fulfillment of these perfections.

You can give selflessly and recognize your being as nothing but giving—a free flow of energy, beauty, and bounty. None of this is your possession because all of this is who you are. You are capable of feeling harmony and disharmony in your body and in your mind, in the body and mind of the world itself. That is the life of the precepts, the morality that is the body of the universe. You have patience based on deep understanding—patience that comes not from being in time, but being time itself. You are energy itself—energy which is able to infuse joy into any endeavor. You can focus, and do anything you want with your mind. You can be still amidst movement, and provide that stillness for others. And you can realize the non-dual nature of your being—the reality that existed before the beginning of the eon of emptiness, that anticipated any polarization of mind. Before the appearance of any differences, you are always free and unhindered in your actualization. Commit to your complete uniqueness, the gift that you bring to this world. Abiding in your own dharma state, manifest your mind, and your life, as a momentary unfolding of the whole universe.