A Lineage of Cabin Practitioners

Created Tue, Apr 23, 2024 by
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Mike DeGive

Today I was prepping a solitary retreat cabin when I found some juniper that someone had left on the shrine. I like it when people leave things behind for the next guy. Sometimes it’s a candle, or incense, or maybe an inspiring dharma text. Tea is another frequent gift to the next guy.

Over a matter of months, I once watched a collection of interesting rocks on Yeshe cabin’s porch grow from two to four to seven — each one left there by a meditator.

I consider those stones, these “gifts to the next guy,” to be the beginning of a looooooooong game of telephone, from one retreatant to another, and then to another and another and another. In silence, they are all saying “Hello! I was here, too!”

It reminds me that each of the cabins has its own lineage of practitioners — people who have contributed to the cabin in one way or another, whether it's noticeable or not. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Padmasambhava and the Lord Buddha are all part of that cabin’s lineage, since it would not exist without them.

We’re all part of an interdependent unfolding, without end. We are all siblings to the first particles of the Big Bang. And the unique contribution of each cabin retreatant reminds me of that.

I like to think that one particular bird, with problems of her own, and who was at the forefront of a whole bird lineage, by the way, dropped a seed in just the right place, under just the right conditions, to unintentionally give birth to a tree that would serve as Nagarjuna cabin’s ridgepole.

We’re all leaving gifts for the next guy all the time, with every one of our actions.

And maybe this whole story is working up to a confession … which is that one of these gifts to the next guy, left last year, was a Toblerone chocolate bar. And I just went ahead and ate that. And I accept my karma without regret.

So, we’re all playing our part.

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