All sound is the sound of mantra: 17-year cicadas June 2

The 17-year cicadas, last seen here in 1996, are not having an easy time of it.  After waiting 17 years underground to emerge for their brief, glorious moment in the sunlight and air, they were delayed by a long, cool spring. When they finally started to come out during the two-week Saka Dawa nyungne retreat in May, a blast of cold weather halted them in their tracks. But at last, in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave this week, they are emerging in numbers, and their eerie hum grows louder every day. As of today, we can hear them throughout the monastery grounds.

All sound is the sound of mantra: cicadas June 2, 2013

(High sound volume recommended)

cicada and begonia June 2 2013

The constant hum of the cicadas reminds me of this meditation instruction from Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche:

“We can relate advantageously right now through our physical senses to the universe we will experience so vividly in the bardo, using a subtle exercise. It is called hearing the sound of nature. There is an enormous sound that goes on all the time, but because we are always thinking, talking, or otherwise occupied, we never hear that sound. When we are quiet, we can hear a little bit of it. Concentrate on that sound. Calmly try and maintain that sound, at least when resting at home. It will help tremendously, because that is one of the sounds we encounter when entering the bardo.

— H.E. the XII Tai Situ Rinpoche, Awakening the Sleeping Buddha


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