I started crying this evening when I thought about it. Four old friends attended the weekend talk. To me, that's huge! I wasn't crying because I'm trying to sign them up for a pyramid scheme or was getting money out of them or trying to convert. Dharma lectures were and are 100% free. I honestly don't care about what's in your wallet or on your altar. I guess I started crying because it feels like a light is getting passed on in the darkness.
I get asked for help a lot. For the most part, I love it. Speak at a class? Sure. Give a donation? Why not! Help with my career? Let's do it. But despite all of this, I also know one thing about the everyday world: 'normal help' doesn't ultimately help. It's very hit or miss, b/c that's the nature of reality. Normal worldview is like betting at a casino: no matter how good a gambler one is, or how hot the streak is, the house will always win. There is no plan smart enough, or advice wise enough to overcome it. The only thing which can do that is wisdom. Not neat aphorism or witty anecdotes or being kind, but practical, applicable wisdom.
There are very few talks happening right now that cut through self-help, new-agey goo, and go right to the source of how things work. To me this is the power of wisdom. Love without wisdom is farce. And wisdom without love is tragedy. But if the two are combined, a light goes on in the dark. This weekend it felt like four friends became an arrow of light. Now other people can chart their course by four friendly stars. To me that's the sign of true wisdom: it can guide other people like a constellation. All people have to do is stop and look up. I am looking up with tears in my eyes.
brought about by causes
As like a star,
an obstruction of the eye,
a lamp, an illusion,
The dew, or a bubble;
A dream or lightning,
Or else a cloud."
- Last verse of Lord Buddha's "Diamond Cutter Sutra"