June 1, 2020
Love Letter from Tassajara

Bapu Vaitla, one of the forty-seven participants in the 104th Tassajara Practice Period this winter, arrived with a big question: What is love? The community responded with their answers to that question, which are collected here. Some were also made into a hand-written, hand-bound notebook which illustrates this post.

Bapu wrote an essay on this theme, interspersed with the reflections he had received.




“One body, many arms.”

“Constant, persistent vow and attention”

“To see this: nature, life, death. To see it all as one vista.”

“Definitions are not possible for something as vast as this.”

“The heart’s great muse, the body its vessel. In every single moment, through song, dance, prayer, the living of life, together they express beauty as an offering to her.”

“The knowing of our shared being.”

“Acceptance and respect for who one is.”

“Seeing the self in all the world.”

“The well from which compassion springs; God”

“Showing up.”

“When the heart is soft, open, and undefended; who we are.”

“The infinite, recognizing itself and dancing with joy at being reunited.”

“Love is nothing special.  It’s always there ready to be realized as the complete interconnection of everything. Itâ’s realized when self-concern and self-defense drop. And that’s why love always comes paired with vulnerability.”

“Accepting yourself in the dark.”

“Being met with a dustpan when you’re holding a broom.”

“Finding all five servers getting on the same side of the zendo, serving, to fill the gaps.”

“Agape: the love that consumes.”

“Not having to do anything extraordinary to feel understood and to be connected to the world.”

“Relaxation and ease in the midst of difficulties.” [And then he laughed deeply.]

“Seeing with the true, dharmic eye, not the karmic eye”

“The canyon wren.  A heartfelt apology.  147 dokusans.”

“Love is me, Love is YOU.  Love is everything unseen between us too.”

“My liberation is inseparable from yours; Love is that non-separation in action.”

“Miraculous, all-embracing acceptance characterized by warmth and enhanced by wisdom. Not blind to reality. Softening the edges of ‘the world according to me.’  With a tiny heartbeat that reverberates in all directions.”

“Taking the experiences of others seriously.”

“Showing up, over and over again, no matter what, until it’s clear: It’s ok, I’m here, you’re safe, I am with you.”

“Looking into another and seeing one’s own tenderness.”

“The state of rest.”

“A child shooting jumpers in the dark, finding stillness inside the shaking.”

“The singularity that gave birth to the universe.”

“Does the vast empty sky touch the ground?”

“Unknowable; something that comes through the universe and goes through us.”

“The person sitting next to me.”

“Having to say goodbye.”

“Keeping the question alive.”

“Whatâ’s not?”

“Connection and good sense.”

“Giving yourself permission not to think too much.”

“Everything divided by nothing. ∞/ø”