East meets West: Image and commentary by Lynn Bauman
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
I would like to introduce all of you to Lynn Bauman. He is dear friend and a spiritual mentor. He is a Holy Man and a teacher of wisdom. I'm sure you will get to know Lynn better in days and weeks to come. But for now I would like to share his offering that appeared in my inbox this morning.
For the past century at least, the cultures of the East and the West have begun to meet and greet one another. Sometimes it has been an awkward meeting with much misunderstanding. Sometimes there has been generosity of spirit, where the meetings are cordial and done with greater care, and much insight has flowed back and forth between the traditions.
That the East and West live in One World and on a single planet is much clearer to its citizens. That we no longer have any real choice but to become familiar with the “other” that we may have been able to avoid up till now, is also clear. If we are to remain and thrive as a species, it is now absolutely necessary that we learn to know, if not truly care for one-another. Assigned to us from the beginning, it has now become an immediate task, essential for our very survival.
Where there are bridges between the two minds and cultures, we must use them. One such bridge is the deep awareness of what it is that humans must do while they live on the planet. This is a shared insight. It is often described in a universal dictum, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This truism is, at the very least, a necessary minimum, but suppose it is just the starting point.
A deeper seeing and a higher bridge connecting the cultural and spiritual divides in this world share powerful insights that transcend the minimum. They are expressed here, briefly, in the western tradition of Islamic Sufism, and the eastern tradition of Eighth century Buddhism:
Forget the world,
and so command the world.
Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd,
help someone’s soul heal.
Stay in the spiritual fire until it cooks you.
Be a well-baked loaf and lord of the table,
come and be served to your brothers and sisters.
May I be a protector to those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
And a boat, a bridge, a passageway
for those desiring the further shore.
May the pain of every living creature
be completely cleared away. ...
Until they pass from pain,
may I support the life of all the boundless creatures.