Temples, churches mosques and all places of worship are for many, a place of emotional refuge; a place to gather mental strength, though short-lived perhaps, the effect. Yet, for this aged woman, with none to call her own, except a ragged bundle, it is her means to a life and shelter. Surviving on the generous offerings of food made to the God within, and shared later with those expectantly awaiting their turn, to appease her hunger, and the few coins dropped into her outstretched palms from devotees, more inclined to be little generous in “HIS” presence—perhaps, with the expectation of a manifold return on their tiny ‘investment’ in a foreseeable future, with “HIM” having been witness to their generosity—to buy her a few essentials and a little joy. Sadly, in this process of ‘giving’, she too becomes a means to an end, and, not the end in itself; and for some, a sense of relief or a feeling of superiority, at being more blessed or fortunate than her.
She sleeps huddled in a corner, her gaunt form wrapped tightly in blankets, frail and aged as she, to keep out the harsh night mountain weather, which creeps in stealthily with each passing hour. Comforted, that God is very near, just beyond that locked door, and that “HE” would keep her safe for what is left of her life, and eventually take her to a better place — while intensifying her struggle against another night of invasive cold, with the crumbling defenses afforded by her tattered blanket.
There are those who reason, that God does not exist, that it’s a foolish belief, yet, for her, her faith is an indispensable relief; one fundamental to her survival. May none take away this, her comfort, her only solace, her only refuge, whatever their own belief. After all, even amongst those who profess there is no God, and assume themselves to be independent thinkers, many function in opposition to that selfsame concept, and still caught in duality—concepts and mental proliferations— and unable to detach themselves from it, they are neither independent, nor free, to be independent — held captive within their own ‘net of views’ to be released.
For this aged woman, reason may not bring her comfort, only a genuine understanding of those in her situation. Her life, one of poverty, and living, a series of struggles, and a past, possibly of abuse, with education, a luxury, only faith, and not reason, sustains her; a belief in something transcendent that is imbued with the necessary attributes to transport her from her present. In this ‘Knowing’, and an empathy born from it, you are released from your own ‘self’, and concurrently your own “net of views”, to know that which is sacred. A transcendence that brings unity to preserve life’s sanctity.
What obstructs one from truly knowing another, than a ‘self’ and its views; and without a ‘self’ who is to a view?
View Her only refuge
Sacred: 2b. Sacrosanct [most sacred; inviolable] -Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary.The Brahmajala Sutta (The All-Embracing Net of Views)
… The elaboration ends with the Buddha’s statement about the danger of clinging to these beliefs [net of views], as they are still influenced by desire, hatred, and ignorance…
[Those who hold onto these views] are compared to small fish in a pond which will be captured by a fine net no matter how much they want to escape, while those who see are beyond the net of ‘samsara’.
Wikipedia – The free encyclopedia
(Samsara- “Round of rebirth, lit. Perpetual wandering” – “Buddhist Dictionary” by Nyanatiloka)