FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

In GRACEFUL LIVING by Martha Boyden1 Comment

Pointing to the Longing for Bliss Union, Self-manifesting.

It’s said that all living beings long for union. This manifests in many forms, but most strongly through erotic bliss, the desire to be penetrated by or to penetrate another offering a momentary ecstatic coupling perhaps in the name of an idea or that of love. The mind also pleads and begs for union. The sole finger pointing to this deepest of human attachments and how this longing coupled with the view offers liberation.

In Plato’s The Symposium a group of men gather for a drinking party and each one discusses their views on love. Plato considered wisdom to be the highest form where as Aristophanes tells the story of how the gods at birth split humans in two severing them from their previous state of wholeness. This godly act condemns humans to a continual search for that which will return them to their previous state of oneness. A life spent longing for union. Kawabata, the Japanese Noble Prize author wrote of a house where old men spend their nights lying by the side of tranquilized sleeping virgins and without touching fill their minds with memories of the many transitory erotic love unions of younger years. Yet another story tells of a night spent with the arm of a beautiful woman attached to his body offering him manipulated erotic bliss satisfaction only the next morning to find it impossible to re-
exchange her arm for his turning all into a horrible parody.

A Tibetan Rinpoche said that longing is the human condition and this certainly appears to be true. The longing for wholeness commits us to a perpetual state of dualistic suffering. We search for God, a soul mate, philosophical ideals, creative ecstasy through the many human values such as power, greed, jealousy and hatred. These dualistic patterns run through out all of samsara creating an endless perpetual dissatisfaction.

The Buddha sitting under the tree of enlightenment saw all this as he too played in erotic union, those rumblings on soft evenings in the palace offering and receiving pleasure from others. The rhythmic undulations of coupling that achieve the glory of bliss climax and momentary oneness. He, however, went in search to end this dualistic of illusory unions and finally coming to a bodhi tree sat and went beyond. Only after a time of silence, in homage and wonderment, did he manifest the pathless path of liberation for all to follow.

This deepest of human longing is the height of dualistic attachment perpetually turning the samsaric wheel. Yet this longing for bliss union is the ultimate method. These supreme methods, realized by past masters, allows one’s clear light intrinsic essence to shine forth, a self-arising wisdom opening compassion’s gateway. In the words of yet another mad saint from kingdom high hot chilies basking on mountain rooftops where with jewel erect they spread their bodies across the land penetrating night skies one’s primordial nature is self-penetrating bliss.

Pith instructions of the guru come in many odd forms, the shock of which cuts through lifetimes of delusions. Some upon parting pull up their robes exposing buttocks, leathered skinned from years of sitting, others take off their sandal and offer a resounding slap across the face, while still others appear as a maggot infested dog. The one who points out the nature of mind exposes the supreme longing. This unfathomable precious opening offered by ones guru sparks the most intense of devotions. This attachment is the sole fingertip of dust resting upon the lintel above the gateway.

As we of humanity walk round and round and round floating on the stainless sounds of the dharani, the heart-mind breaks and tears pour opening ageless sadness. They say that only than the stainless one truly is manifesting, she who offers spacious liberation of her pulsating lotus, the supreme dance of awareness wisdom compassion ringing the illusory sounds of her translucent bell.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1940 also made into a film of the same name directed by Sam Wood with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, 1943. The title and epigraph, left in original Old English, are from John Donne, the metaphysical poet’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII written in 1624, “No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

About the Author
Martha Boyden

Martha Boyden

Artist. Lives in Rome, Italy.


Share this Post

Comments

Leave a Comment