Seven princesses speak to their father, explaining why they wish to leave their royal life. From the palace outside to heavens within, they believe a life of sufficiency and moderation leads to true wealth and so are able to simultaneously transcend and enter the world.
For ancient travelers the Big Dipper pointed them to the Pole Star- the reference point for finding a way when one is lost. Symbolically it is believed to be on the axis of our universe and so represents the pivotal spiritual truths that remain regardless of time and place. The Big Dipper is then a relative truth, changing, spinning and turning with cycles and seasons. The Pole Star is then absolute truth, unmoving, continuity and formless expression, shining light everywhere regardless of the universe’s revolutions around it.
Often we look up high when we no longer can find our way in the world, weary from aimless travel. Seeking guidance. If we observe the earthly and heavenly worlds (both literally and figuratively as our lives and the contents of our mind-heart) in relation to one another we can find the truths to guide us spiritually. If we see the Big Dipper road inside us we can find the Pole Star in ourselves. No longer lost we become a wanderer’s guide able show a road for others to walk. This could be said to be a person’s ‘dharma’ or that which holds and supports…in finding the ‘Dharma’- that which is natural truth.
A sutra is a ‘thread, a stitch, sewn’ and in the spiritual traditions of India have referred to books or teachings by word that expound Dharma. They are threads in that they connect us to past by transmission and the future by embodiment. Threads that stitch us back together when we are fragmented and confused. When memorized and lived they sew our hearts back together and we are no longer broken. Traditionally these are the writings or words of the sagely passed from teacher to student…but even sages have found their wisdom in this very world.
Inscribed with the brush of Mt.Sumeru and the ink of the seas,
Heaven-and-Earth itself is the sutra book.
All phenomena are encompassed in even a single point therein,
And the six sense objects are all included within its covers.
EDIFYING TALE OF THE SEVEN MAIDENS
We see worldly circumstances as unsteady, like the reflection of the moon in the water.
We see desirable objects like the shadow of the head of an angry coiled snaked.
When we see these being completely engulfed in the fire of suffering, we take ourselves to the charnel ground, O king, delighting in the thought of renunciation.
When will I be able to do as I wish, to shave my hair, wear rags from the rubbish heap, and retire to a solitary place?
When will I be able to beg for alms, blameless, wandering from house to house. Looking no further ahead than the length of a yoke, carrying an earthen begging bowl?
Having cleansed the swamps where the thorns of the afflictions grow, without attachment to wealth or esteem, when will I become the object of charity, for those who live in towns?
When will I become unattached to my body, rising from a bed of grass, my clothes laden with frost, living on the most basic food and drink?
When will I lie down beneath a tree, wearing clothes of soft grass as green as a parrot, to enjoy this life’s blissful feast?
When will I live in a meadow by a river, observing over and over, how the world of this life is like the coming and going of the waves?
When will I become free of desire for samsara’s pleasures, uprooting the view of the transitory collections, the mother of all wrong views?
When will I come to realize that the animate and inanimate worlds are just like dreams, hallucinations, magic shows, clouds or a city of gandharvas?