A Buddhist Lesson for Eid

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Gold dawn disk edges purple cliffs.
Old woman bends to sweep temple steps.
She bathes each stone with loving care.
How many worshippers think of her work?

I went at dawn to a magnificent temple. Its architecture was such a supreme expression of the human spirit that it was a treasure. Generations of worshipers had left offerings at the shrines, hundreds of monks had reached their enlightenment on the consecrated grounds, and thousands had been blessed in life and death in the venerable halls.

Yet my most moving observation was an old woman silently sweeping the steps. Her concentration was perfect. Her devotion was palpable. Her thoroughness was complete. Her uncelebrated act showed a true holy spirit.

Later in the day, wealthy people came to worship. Children with brightly colored toys ran over the gray stones. The abbot walked to his ceremonies. Monks passed in silent prayer. Of all who passed, how many were aware of the saintly service that had made their own devotion possible?

When the way is all we have to walk, those who prepare the way should be truly honored.


Deng Ming-Dao, from the 365 Tao website, taken from the lovely and spiritual Kozi Wolf blog.

Alhamdulillah! This beautiful observation is indeed worth remembering during Eid. Watch the women – the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts – in the kitchen preparing the food, cleaning the home, setting the table or the sufreh. Observe the care they take, the devotion and love they put into the tasks, and remember to thank them.

Eid Mubarak! 

Ya Haqq!


11 Responses to A Buddhist Lesson for Eid

  1. Achelois says:

    What a beautiful reminder!

  2. Merryweather says:

    What a heart-warming post… brings many smiles :) May we remember to thank those who prepare the way… and so thank you to you too for sharing this lesson for Eid :)
    May Allah keep us on the straight path. Ameen.

  3. Raza Rumi says:

    As always, words full of wisdom and symbolism..
    thanks for holding the torch and bringing light to our lives

  4. Nurul Matin says:

    Ah! Just beautiful. Eid Mubarak to you my dear Bhai.

  5. Shahrzad says:

    That’s beautiful. Several years ago i used to read Buddhist books.

  6. Barbara says:

    Irving, there is such beauty in captivating that moment of another in action! Your story reminded me of a young man who is mildly mentally delayed when I go to McDonald’s every morning at 5:00 a.m. for a large coffee. He’s always in the parking lot sweeping up, and he applies himself 110% to his task with such care…it’s so heartwarming just to behold this child of Allah from a distance. There is most definitely a place for everybody in time, and the dignity in the application of a job well done speaks for itself…whether we notice it or not.

    Thank you.

  7. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Brothers and Sisters:

    Thank you all for the kind comments :) Barbara, I know what you mean. We have such young men and women working in the local grocery store as baggers at the checkout counter, and they are meticulous in their job, always packing carefully and quickly, balancing the bag for weight, never crushing anything. Their mild mental handicap has made them extremely focused on their job, and they work much better and harder than I do at anything.

    Now these women that prepare the way for us, these women who cook and clean and make ready the joy of Eid, this celebration, not of the end of Ramadan, but, as a friend recently wrote to me, a lens to focus the blessings of Ramadan all year until the next one, these women who do so out of duty and devotion and love, they ARE the way to God. And only a foolish and vain man would not honor them and thank them, and praise their hard work and diligence and love. Paradise is indeed at the foot of the mothers.

    Ya Haqq!

  8. serenity says:

    An important post. So many times we can be swept up in complexity and searching and seeking something so profound and that really the most profound is missed because it is right here, in the simplest of places. In much the same way, people seek out entertainment and stimulation that is more visual, more complex, louder, etc., all the while walking by the glory of the blooming flower.

    I too remember a young man who worked as a janitor at a shopping mall where I worked during my college years. He was autistic, very cheerful, and never missed sweeping even the smallest scrap of paper on the floor of the giant mall. He went about his work cheerfully, with an exuberance, and had the ability to remember everyone’s name he ever met (and you only had to tell it to him once…he never missed). Every day upon entry to work, every employee he had ever met was greeted by this young man by name with a smile and an enthusiastic good morning. Interestingly enough as well, his appearance was very young, much younger than his chronological age.

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  9. pbsweeney says:

    May I add a story too? It reminds me of an elderly man who took our tickets at the movie theater. For years, as long as I remember going there, twenty-five years, this beautiful, tiny, white haired man with eyes that sparkled like sun on the water, would take our tickets and smile and in the quietest voice, say “Thank you.” He would look directly at us with those special eyes of his, and no one among us, even the wildest teenager, would do anything other than become quiet, move without jostling or pushing, and without fail, all would say a word or two to him. It was always interesting to me how this little quiet fellow with the “nothing” job, had the love and thrall of an entire community, such that on his passing, there was not a dry eye in the village.

    So my prayers and gratitude to the little man and all like him! And thank you for prodding my remembrance!

  10. Shahrzad says:

    Happy Eid Al Fitr to You, Irving and Your Family.
    May it be a blessed Eid for you. And you be healthy and happy for future Ramadans too.. Insha’allah..

  11. […] Her question also reminded me of this post about the old woman washing the steps of a Buddhist temple, which you can read here. […]

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