It's another glorious day here in France, sun shining, the sky is blue, everywhere you look nature is in full activity. Flowers on all the trees, the lilac is in its deep purple – magnificent! And may trees shining silver-white. They look like the trees in heaven, all covered in little jewels. Sitting, looking at the trees with my cup of tea I can imagine easily I'm in paradise. This is spring: beautiful.

Of course, spring is only a transition. It's a transition between the cold of winter and the drought of summer. The cold of winter can have its delights as well. Walking the woods on a crisp, frosty morning has a certain atmosphere. And the heat of summer: hot, dry, long days... You can sunbathe, you can enjoy. So, this is spring: between these two major seasons there's a lot happening. Although it looks tranquil and beautiful – under the surface there's a lot going on: the flowers, the insects, they're all super-busy, extremely active. There's a tremendous buzz of activity, quite literally, quite literally you sit by one of the apple trees and the buzz is tremendous, all those insects going around all those flowers, and later, after the summer, there'll be apples.

The Buddhist word for a period of transition is bardo. The bardo comes between, it's the gap between. When we say gap, you might have an image of something that is static, unchanging, but in fact, there's a huge amount going on. In fact, the spring is perhaps the busiest time of the year for the flowers making their seeds, for the insects gathering their food for the year ahead.

So, the bardo. Of course, we normally think of bardo as the period between lifetimes, after this life finishes, there will be a bardo before the next life; and we tend to think of it like that. Like the lives are what matter and the bardo is what gets you from one to the other. But actually, spring is the finest time of the year, the most important time. And in a sense, the winter has simply been a preparation for the spring. All those plants, they've been gathering their strength, getting ready for this opportunity to make their flowers, make their seeds, spring up, grow high, grow tall. It's all been prepared during the winter.

If we think in this kind of pattern, then this life is a preparation for the bardo before the next one. In the bardo we all make the seeds which will grow into fruit in the life to come. And if we've made good roots in this life, then we will make good flowers and the good flowers will make good seeds. So, in that sense, life is a preparation for death, it's a preparation for the bardo which is to come.

I'm going to enjoy this spring. It's lovely out there.

Namo Amida Bu

Thank you very much


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