dumb bonbu wrote:i love your modification too Luke! do you write your own as well?
Hehe, not really. I once wrote some kind of weird Zen-inspired poems when I was in high school, but I've never considered myself a poet. Modifying an existing form is easy, though. It's like coloring in a coloring book. In fact, it would interesting to see other members modify the poem for the environment in which they live.
dumb bonbu wrote:it's as you say, the Dharma is to be found and cultivated in any environment...reminds me very much of something someone shared on another forum of how 'the lotus grows in the mud'....still, i do wonder if serenity and the wilderness can be more conducive to cultivation than the saha world of noise and endless distractions - leisure, buisness etc. most us live in?
Well, any shamatha meditation instructions I've read either from the Zen or Tibetan traditions say that the place where you meditate should be free from distractions. However, I've heard both Zen and Tibetan sources say that later, when your concentration and meditation ability have improved, it is possible to meditate almost anywhere.
I don't think the wilderness matters so much as being free from distractions does(although the fresh air in the wilderness is a nice bonus). It's certainly easier to first learn to meditate in a peaceful, quiet environment for most people, and periodically going to a meditation retreat in a very peaceful location can make it easier to get more out of meditation (although I honestly prefer meditating at home to a retreat because I have my cushions set up the way I like them at home and I have more space to myself, instead of being squeezed behind a low table with puja texts on it and between two of my sangha members whom I try to avoid touching by accident with my knees).
I live next to an old woman who likes to listen to her TV at a high volume setting. Some days, this bothers me and I take my cushions and go and meditate in my bedroom instead. Some days, I'll hear the noise and simply think, "I don't care. Why should this bother me?" and I focus on my meditations without feeling any aversion to the noise. More important than what is taking place in the environment around you is what you do with your mind and how you react to it. In fact, my lama once told me that if you're doing tonglen and you experience the negative thought "That noise is annoying. I don't think I can meditate here," you can simply breathe it in and imagine it disappearing, just like you would do with any other negative thoughts while doing tonglen.
So, I think peaceful, idyllic places can be periodically helpful for deeping one's practice, but I think it's important to then be able to take that inner peace and be able to maintain it in the face of adversity and benefit others.