A Bowl Full of Light

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

A Bowl Full of Light

I have been reading a book on Hawaiian spirituality. There’s a beautiful image that Hawaiians use. Each one of us is born into the world with a bowl full of light and for each unskillful choice we make throughout our lives—getting caught up in anger, conflict, or selfishness—it’s as if we put a rock in the bowl. The more rocks that are placed in the bowl, the less room there is for light.

In our daily life practice, by examining what it is we are doing, we can reflect on whether we are a being of light or a being of rocks and pebbles. When we recognize that we have accumulated any kind of rocks or pebbles, we learn how to tip over the bowl and dump the rocks out. This helps us look after that bowl of light and return to making choices that are more skillful.

Light is a universal image that is used across all religious and spiritual traditions. In the first discourse of the Buddha, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, there is the contemplation of the Four Noble Truths and the implementing of the Eightfold Path. The stock phrases that follow this are: “cakkhuṃ udapādi, ñāṇaṃ udapādi, paññā udapādi, vijjā udapādi, āloko udapādi“— vision arises, knowledge arises, wisdom arises, clear seeing arises, and light arises. There is a sense of light coming into being. From the Buddhist perspective, when we establish and develop a continuity of training with the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, it brings light into the mind and into our being.

This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the book, Beginning Our Day, Volume 1, pp. 170-171.