Stories/Parables/Koans: “Sanctuary”


 This has quickly become my new favorite koan. I’ve heard it explained by others in several different ways, and I’ve had at least two different takes on it myself. Here’s one:

Looking at each character of the story as if it is me, there is a lesson in every phrase:

As the World Honored One it is my responsibility to lead — my family, my friends, strangers in the grocery store. It is up to me to point the way to their true being.

As Indra King of the Gods, it is my responsibility to put into the words of the Masters into action. I could spend years meditating, studying, and praying, but that would benefit nothing and no one if I am not building a world of peace and love around me.

As the blade of grass (and this is so important) I am one of many, a small slice of existence in an infinite universal landscape. I am not responsible for my planting or my growth: nature and life sees to everything, so that I am taken care of. “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” I am ready to be plucked and replanted, in whatever manner Life sees fit.

As the Sanctuary, I am the anchor of peace in a chaotic world. Those who need healing will receive it in this place. Those who need comfort and shelter — a good, kind word — a helping hand — reprieve from the mundane conversations that have made us numb. It is here.

Of course, none of these traits are perfected in me — but the desire is there, so is the effort, and the willingness to be as I am until Life makes me something else. Pretty cool.

How about you… would you interpret this koan today?