We delight in children because they keep the seven notes of enlightenment, as the Buddha noted them. Keep them? They sing them, they are them: energy, joy, concentration, attentiveness, mindfulness, curiosity, equanimity. (Well, not the last, maybe, but they still keep it better than we do; they are often in pain but rarely in panic.) Detachment, too--they are detached from us in ways that we only know after; they study us exactly as monks contemplate the world, to free themselves from needing us. Their ultimate enlightenment lies in in that emancipation. What we didn't grasp before is how badly the world feels about being abandoned by the monks. As parents we are, briefly, objects of intellectual desire; we are, for a moment, worlds. We should be proud to have been as large as world, but instead, we are merely sad to be abandoned. The risk of sentimentality lies only in failing to see that the most charmed thing they will do is leave us. They have to renounce their attachment to us as the adept abandons his attachment to the world.Getting older every single day of my life, my friends the people. Frankly, at the moment, I'm not feeling so bad about it.
Friday, August 29, 2008
A little wisdom.
From Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York, by Adam Gopnik: