Many of us recognize work as a very vital and pregnant place for practice and seeing the Dharma, but this is coming more from the stance that work gives us the opportunity to be mindful. Whatever chore we are given, or if we are the ones giving the chores, from mopping the floor to trying to seal that million dollar deal; work present us the opportunity to be fully present to whatever we are doing with body and mind. And at the point where body and mind have fallen away. Yet, this is still only one small aspect of the full range that work can present us with. No matter what we do, from banking, to serving coffee, what we are doing, essentially, is serving another.
When we are working with our manager we are serving them, helping them. When our manger is yelling at us because something did not go right, we must realize that they to are trying to do the best they can, have a relatively stress free-day and support their loved ones. In recognizing this we can give ourselves to service to our company, store, or whatever we are doing to truly help everyone involved. In this way we manifest ourselves as one of the thousand arms of the great Bodhisattva of compassion. In serving, we realize that we have never been separated from the great Bodhisattva of compassion. Saving all sentient beings does not come from intellectually wanting to, but from everyday mindful action.
When we manifest compassion and the vow to save all sentient beings within our moment to moment life then we are manifesting the tenth ox herding picture. We are returning back to the market place. The ox herding pictures are not stages that one goes through like grades; instead we go through each of them within the course of our day. One selfless compassionate smile in one moment is manifesting stage ten, then in the very next moment we forget ourselves and end up back at stage one. Yet, when we examine closely we see very clearly that stage ten, is exactly stage one. Yet when we are at stage one it is very different from stage ten.
Moment by moment, breath by breath
I vow to alleviate the suffering of myself and those around me.
I vow to realize the Buddha‘s path
And see clearly into the nature of things.
Sky is blue. Grass is green. Apart from this where can enlightenment be said not to be found?