As a meditation on impermanence, after days or weeks of creating the intricate pattern of a sand mandala, the sand is brushed together and placed in a body of running water to spread the blessings of the mandala.

I find the subject of impermanence very important and because I feel I was not clear when first writing about it, I have decided to rewrite it in hopes that it might be better understood.
  • The title of this article is called “The obstacle is the path”. What has that to do with impermanence? As we all know, a path is the way, a route, a course of action.

‘An obstacle (also called a barrier or a stumbling block) is an object, thing, action or situation that causes an obstruction. There are, therefore, different types of obstacles, which can be physical, economic, biopsychosocial, cultural, political, technological or even military.’  Ok, good enough.

Let’s hear about what Roshi Yasutani says about impermanence;

All things, (in which are included thoughts, feelings and perceptions) are impermanent, arising when particular causes and conditions bring them into being and passing away with the emergence of new causal factors. life is pain. Nothing exists as a whole by itself, all forms in their essential nature are empty, (patterns of energy in flux) yet at the same time are limited reality in time and space. All things are short-lived, never the same from one moment to the next—fleeting manifestations in a stream of ceaseless transformation. These constant changes help us to know that this constant “dying” is the life of everything.

Now, let’s look at how obstacles and impermanence relate.

Our suffering is rooted in a selfish grasping and in fears and terrors which spring from our ignorance of our true nature of life and death…the impermanence of all things. What we term “suffering” is our evaluation of pain. In the practice of “zazen” (sitting in Zen) that pain is courageously accepted as a means to liberation in that it frees our natural sympathies and compassion even as it enables us to experience pleasure and joy in a new depth and purity.

With enlightenment, that zazen brings, we realize that the foundation of existence is a Voidness out of which all things ceaselessly arise and into which they endlessly return, that this EMPTINESS is positive and alive. The obstacle is the path.



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About mountainsisters

WELCOME TO OUR BLOG WHERE WOMEN SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND CREATIVITY ON THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT. We are two women sharing our thoughts, reflections and creativity. Stormy My name is Stormy and I have spent the last 20 years working on my spiritual growth and enlightenment. I still have a long way to go, but with your help I know I’ll keep growing, learning and expanding. Shar My name is Shar and I am a meditation, yoga and Qigong practitioner. I love to cook. I am vegan. I love to walk in nature, sing, drum, play guitar, write and spend time with family and friends.

6 responses to “THE OBSTACLE IS THE PATH”

  1. Jane Johnson says :

    I understand and believe but it isn’t easy to accept. Stormy

    • mountainsisters says :

      Change is never easy to accept. We don’t want to get old or sick or see our loved ones suffer and die. This is the essence of the acceptance of impermanence. There is a belief that we don’t die but simply “reincarnate” or become some other form like a butterfly or a baby. It is believed that we must continue to return here on earth until we learn the lessons necessary for “enlightenment”. We are never completely enlightened. We only have moments of it, if we work at it. If we were truly “enlightened” all the time, we would not have to be here on earth to suffer anymore. We would be pure spirit. This is the Buddha’s teaching.

  2. Jane Johnson says :

    OK, so this addresses impermanence as well. One of my all time favorite songs is Everything Must Change. Is this a good example of impermanence? Stormy

  3. Jane Johnson says :

    I thought the lyrics of this song pertain to the topic of impermanence. Stormy

    Everything must change
    Nothing stays the same
    Everyone must change
    No one stays the same

    The young become the old
    And mysteries do unfold
    Cause that’s the way of time
    Nothing and no one goes unchanged

    There are not many things in life
    You can be sure of
    Except rain comes from the clouds
    Sun lights up the sky
    And hummingbirds do fly

    Winter turns to spring
    A wounded heart will heal
    But never much too soon
    Yes everything must change

    The young become the old
    And mysteries do unfold
    Cause that’s the way of time
    Nothing and no one goes unchanged

  4. mountainsisters says :

    I love this post. I know I’ve had to overcome numerous obstacles I have put in my own path. I still have to over come the obstacle that whispers in my ear, “no one wants to read what you write.” Stormy

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