Posted on Jan.10.2013 @ 11:38AM EDT by leoj99
Yawning when sleep is Compassion.
SZ: You say that yawning when you are sleepy is compassion. Could you explain that a bit?
NP: Sure. We can try to answer this question on two levels. We tend
to view the world from two primary vantage points: the point of view of
the linear mind and the point of view of essential reality.
Essential reality is, and contains, every moment— ten thousand years
ago, right now, and ten thousand years ahead—these are one. However,
our brain (and some say our left brain) cannot conceive of this. Our
brain is such that we see things in a linear fashion. One thing happens
after another, and this is what we refer to as the linear mind. From
this point of view—the pragmatic, everyday point of view—yawning when
you are sleepy is compassion. Why? Because the body is rather limited
in its ability to function—it cannot continue to do good for others, do
acts of compassion, without allowing itself to rest. Yawning is the
body’s natural action to take in more oxygen when it is tired or
sleepy. In order to allow our bodies to continue helping others, it
needs to rest. It takes yawning as a cue. So we rest. We are
regenerated and ready ourselves to be sensitive enough to feel who needs
us and in what way they need to be helped. So put very simply, yawning
when we are sleepy is compassion.
Essential reality can only be experienced. From a conceptual point
of view, it is like seeing the picture of a cup of tea, or listening to
someone who has tasted tea describe its flavor to us. Most of us have
tasted tea, so this analogy is not a very effective one; it is difficult
for us to extract ourselves from the experience of having tasted tea
and put ourselves in the shoes of the one without that experience.
However, there is a tropical fruit called durian and most have no idea
what that fruit is like. If I were to tell you that durian has a very
offensive smell —the smell of wet garbage—but has a lovely exotic taste,
you will be amazed. Most durian connoisseurs will attempt to describe
the taste this way: It tastes creamy, like a mixture of butter and
chocolate, etc. etc. But you just have to taste it to know. Like
durian, an experience of essential reality cannot be understood and can
only be experienced.
Therefore, the following explanation will receive huge nods from
people who have had the experience. The more profound their experience
the louder their “yes” will resound. For persons who have not had an
experience of essential reality, they can choose to believe or not
believe, or choose a point in the spectrum of complete belief and
My own sangha reacts with so much doubt when I talk about how
everything is perfectly beautiful just the way it is. How can one say
that? What about war and murder? One of the most beautiful
explanations that I have read is by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Paths
of Compassion. He tells the story of a little boat girl who throws
herself into the ocean to kill herself after she is raped by a pirate at
sea. He then turns the story around and makes us open our eyes of
compassion by looking at the life of the pirate—it really is a must
Every infinitesimal fraction of every movement or action is a perfect
manifestation of Essential Nature. Some call this Buddha Nature,
Essential Reality, Self Nature or other names. Every mountain, every
river, each little flower and weed, each breath I take, each word you
utter, each step you take. Each one is totally the other. In an
experience we see this clearly and we know and understand. Without the
experience, and with only our linear brain, we can only try to
understand and believe this based on the experience of others.
Each thing, each action, and each being is perfect and complete just
as they are. But these are just words. We must sit and go fervently
into our practice until, little by little, more and more our eyes get
clearer and clearer and with each sit we are able to bring into our
daily life this beautiful experience of how everything is beautiful just
as it is.
Yawning when Sleepy is Compassion