358. The hands of Avolakitesvara

Just as a doctor palpates the body for what they cannot see directly, in Buddhism, teachers persistently palpate with words that which cannot be directly spoken of, or, to use the traditional language, that which is ‘inconceivable’. And palpating is an appropriate metaphor, because, even although we cannot trap it within language, we are always intimate with it.

The endless activity of expression of teachers is not pointless, it’s essential. Their effort begins to illuminate. It illuminates the teacher. It illuminates the student. It illuminates a tiny part of a vast land. It illuminates the light. It illuminates the darkness. Most importantly, it disrupts the pictures we create.

It is not that one effort supersedes another, but rather, each effort is the effort of all Buddhists, a billion little candles on a dark hill.

In meditation we are palpating the body, this body. Not of course just our body of bones and flesh and pictures, but the whole body of our experience. We are palpating this body, not with our tiny arthritic karmic hands, but with the hands of Avalokitesvara.