This Saturday May 18, at 6:11pm Atlantic Standard Time, is the Blue Moon. It’s the time to do things that you would only do once in a blue moon!
The May 2019 full moon is a seasonal Blue Moon. Usually there are three full moons between each astrological season. That is the time between each Solstice and equinox. In some years, there are four full moons in a season. When this happens, the third full moon is called a Blue Moon.
This year, for we in the northern hemisphere, the astrological season began with the spring equinox on March 20th. The first full moon was less than four hours later on March 21st. The second full moon was April 19. The third - the Blue Moon - is May 18. The fourth, and last full moon before the Summer Solstice, will be June 17. A blue moon occurs only roughly every two or three years. So make the most of it!
The full moon day in the month of May is celebrated in Buddhist tradition as Vesak Day. It is sacred to Buddhists because the full moon day in the month of May is the day of the historic Buddha’s birth, the day of his enlightenment, and also the day of his parinirvana, the day of his passing at the age of 80.
Vesak Day is celebrated by Buddhists around the world. It is believed to be a day when the karmic result of anything we do is amplified – is increased – 100,000 times. What we do on Saturday, may we do it wisely!
So in honor of the blue moon, and the full moon day in the month of May, today we reflect on karma.
Karma is the relationship between cause and effect.
We eat the fruit of the seeds that we plant. Traditionally, it is said to be like the full moon reflecting into one hundred bowls of water. The moon has no desire to reflect into them all, but, because there happen to be one hundred bowls of water, there are one hundred moons at the same time. They are part of one moon, the full moon in the sky.
Action is just action. Each action will have one hundred – an endless number – of effects. We don’t necessarily desire those effects, but because there is action, there will be the results of that action. They are all part of the one action.
The Sanskrit word “Karma” is derived from the verbal root “KR-” which means “to do”. So, the noun means “action”. There is no such thing as “good karma” or “bad karma”. Action is just action, like the full moon in the sky.
Gravity is just gravity. It is impersonal: it will be experienced in the same way by any being on the planet.
Actions have reactions.
It is not personal. The principle applies to everyone on the planet. It is part of the natural world, like us and like the moon.
Some actions will yield desirable results; we might think those are “good actions”, from “good karma”. Some actions yield undesirable results; we might think those are “bad actions”, from “bad karma”.
Yet the principle of cause and effect doesn’t care if you like it or not, any more than gravity cares if a bird falls from the sky. If you plant apple seeds, you will get apple trees. You may wish they were oranges. It doesn’t matter: the apple tree yields apples.
Cause and effect are two ends of a same stick. We pick up both ends of the stick.
Traditionally, it is said that there are four different types of action. The first of these is “pacifying”. Action which is pacifying is able to calm a situation or make an environment peaceful. It softens our rough edges and helps things go smoothly, in the inside world or in the outside world.
The second and third types of action are “enriching” and “magnetizing”. These are inter-related. “Enriching” action is able to see the inherent richness and potential of a situation and draw that out. What we need, we already have: “enriching” action helps us to see that. “Magnetizing” action comes from our strength of presence, our “beingness”. It is the ability to draw what we need – opportunities, people, situation – to us as naturally as metal is drawn to a magnet.
The fourth type of action is “destroying”. Pacifying, enriching and magnetizing have a quality of compassion: can we be present with what is in an elegant way and work with this to be of benefit to beings. The action of “destroying” is understood in this context. Can we let go of what was in order to create space for new growth and new life to come?
Can we let go of what needs to be released?
Can we destroy what needs to be destroyed, in the same way that we might prune a tree in the spring, removing the old dead branches that are no longer necessary in order to support the growth of new life to come.
It is traditionally believed that one who is brave, and kind, and wise will have the ability to work with pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and destroying like so many tools in a tool box. Can we draw on these abilities to offer whatever a situation may require?
In this ancient, traditional world view, the full moon reflects on one hundred bowls of water. This is the relationship between cause and effect: there may appear to be a difference, but there is not. It’s two ends of a same stick.
In the same way, the full moon reflects on one hundred bowls of water. You may think there is separateness between you and the situation or person who receives your action, but there is no more difference than the full moon reflected on the water.
The actor who acts is playing in a racquetball court. It is not a tennis court. It may appear that this ball that we have set in motion is going away from us and is directed at a person or a situation outside of us. This is an illusion. It’s a racquetball court. What we set in motion will come back to us.
If you spit on someone, you yourself will get wet. If someone has spit on you, notice that – no matter how you may feel in that moment – it is they who got wet. If you work to sink a ship (your home, your relationship, your workplace), you yourself will drown.
Finally, let me offer something that I learned from my garden about the planting of seeds. Weeds come first.
Where I am in Atlantic Canada, we have quite a short growing season. Our last frost of the year will take place in late May or early June. For the moment, I have about 450 tiny seedlings growing indoors under grow lights. These are the flowers and herbs I will plant outdoors later in the season.
Outdoors, the weeds grow first.
The wonderful professional gardener that I co create this land with did a first weeding of the property some weeks ago when she did our spring fertilizing. Today, I began my first outdoor weeding of the season.
The weeds grow first, long before herbs, and vegetables, and flowers. They flourish. They grow especially well in manure.
Is there someone in your life who is a weed in your garden? You know what to do with weeds. I have a wheelbarrow full of tools to help me handle weeds. So do you.
Are you yourself a weed in someone's garden? Are you an obstacle, or obstruction to the happiness and success of a person or a situation? You also know what to do with weeds. If you spit on other people, you yourself will get wet.
The 16th Karma is credited with saying, “When you do things, then obstacles will come, and you can go through them. Obstacles are a sign of success.”
If you do something brave and wonderful, something creative and rich in potential, something bold that expands horizons, there will be pushback. This is a sign of success. People may try to stop you. There will be obstacles. Then you can overcome them.
This is how you build your strength.
Weeds come first. Herbs, vegetables and flowers follow. Weeds are a sign of rich soil.
Copyright © 2019, Adela Sandness