Thursday, January 22, 2015

Little Lessons in Simplicity and Climate

This afternoon, as we were searching for our favorite photos of her 'through the ages', Kaya asked me why we chose her name. I started with the simple answer, the one she happened to know already: "Wir wollten einen K Namen finden, nach Nana." [We wanted a K name as a way to honor Nana.] The rest of the answer, I'm a little embarrassed to admit, necessitated a little internet consult. Granted, the fact that my friend's dog was named Caillou, and Geoff had a friend whose dog was named Kaya, is pretty simple. But...we didn't name our daughter after their dogs--as much as we liked the names. It was what we discovered through some very brief research that really sealed the deal.

So, as I dipped into the internet in hopes of a quick answer, I found this excellent--but complicated--article that had me feeling quite connected to the power of the universe...as hoaky as that may sound. Yes, I know that we named her Kaya, and for some of you, this might not sound surprising in the slightest...but it still has me feeling in awe of what is really possible in this life.

As this article explains, there are three Kayas, and "these three Kayas are actually aspects of enlightened being. They are the Buddha reflected in three different ways in order to help sentient beings." And, for those of you with little to no experience with Buddhism, Buddha means 'awakened or fully realized one' in Sanskrit.


While this may not sound like much to the average reader just bumping into this post willy-nilly, for those of you who recall what I just shared yesterday in my post about my Embodied Buddha-Mama, I'm thinking you may see what I'm getting at. But just in case, let me spell it out a little further.

Today served as another representation of the simplicity that Kaya offers for my life. Despite our arsenal to fight the bugs ruminating in the surrounding air (Vitamin D, Airborne, Elderberry Syrup, Gypsy Cold Care tea, water, rest...), Kaya caught a little something and had to miss out on school and a family birthday party. She wasn't all that sick, though (arsenal!?), and was in pretty high spirits for most of the day. I told her that even though she had to miss school and a party tonight, we could still have a really fun day, and do something to celebrate. Last week, we'd talked about the idea of going to a bead store on her birthday, and I thought for sure she'd be all over it. When I brought it up, she liked the idea, but made sure to let me know that she wanted to relax first, spend time snuggling on the couch with me, and then possibly head out in the afternoon. Surely it made a difference that Auntie Sara's gifts arrived in the mail, but once afternoon rolled around, Kaya was quite eager to keep it simple and stay home.

Clearly, she enjoyed the ice cream...
Similarly, I gave her the option to do whatever she wanted for dinner. Eat out at her favorite restaurant, head for ice cream afterwards, or stay home and choose our meal. Mac n' cheese and ice cream at home was the clear choice. "Bist du sicher, das du nicht zum Eisgeschaeft gehen willst?" [Are you sure you don't want to go get ice cream?] I asked her, surprised, once again, at the simplicity and clarity of her choice. "Ja, Mama, Ich bin sicher. Ich will dass Dada zum Geschaeft geht und Eis nach Hause bringt."[I'm sure, Mama. I want Dada to go to the store and bring ice cream home.]




This all has me wondering...Is Kaya as she is because we named her as such...or was I informed by something bigger in choosing her name?

The first Kaya, or the Dharmakaya according to that same article quoted above, is "the embodiment of wisdom". It's the wisdom to know the value in staying home to rest even when it would be way more fun to go the bead shop, or have a sleep over on your birthday. It's the wisdom to perceive when is too much. In greater detail, as I understand it, the Dharmakaya is the wisdom to be aware of subjective and objective phenomenon and recognize that each is dependent upon the other, as we all are upon each other. Perhaps I'm seeing this aspect in our lil' Kaya in our much more snuggly she's become with me over the years. I remember when she was quite content to have her own space, in her own bed, at at a minimum, at an arm's length from me in our bed. Even these days, she'll often ask me to give her some space when she needs it.

The second Kaya is referred to as the Sambhogakaya, and in its simplest explanation, "this spontaneous radiance of unceasing clarity is the meaning of the Sanskrit term...". Those of you who know Kaya can likely relate to the significance of this. Our daughter is the furthest thing from wishy-washy. She's clear. She knows what she wants. The red sweatshirt. The salmon burger. Three more songs. Mac n' cheese and store-bought ice cream." 'Sam' means perfect, 'bhoga' means enjoyment and kaya is roughly translated as body. Thus 'the body of perfect enjoyment' is the radiant wisdom aspect of our original nature." No doubt on my part that our Kaya is a little embodiment of perfect enjoyment.

The third Kaya, or the Nirmanakaya, and refers to something that is "manifest in form", but is a form that is for everyone. There are other forms that just appear to highly enlightened beings. I'm grateful that our Kaya is available for all of us, especially for me, to remind me how I want to live and what will make the biggest difference for her life. As it's described further, this aspect or kaya of Buddha is also called the 'artisan emanation'. "These appear as objects of art and the artists who make them for the benefit of all sentient beings..[...]...Beautiful inspired works of art which bring clarity, peace, joy and something special which seems to touch the heart center, are all known as artisan emanations."


For the record, this is the first time that I've ever learned any of this in such depth. When we chose her name, I knew that it had something to do with the three bodies of wisdom in Buddhism. I'm not Buddhist, but certainly resonate strongly with its principles. And I liked the sound of the name. I'd always had K-names for my dogs (Kensa, Kahlua, and Kess!), and while I didn't want to name my daughter Karen, I really wanted the mom-connection in there somehow.

But here's the part of the story that really gets me.

A few years after Kaya was born, at my mom's memorial I believe, someone asked me what Kaya's name meant. Still fuzzy on the definition (and also aware that there are many of them), I decided to go searching again. As an avid climate activist, someone whose primary motivation in life is to secure the well-being and health of all life on this planet, I was shocked to discover this definition:

The Kaya identity is an equation relation factors that determine the level of human impact on climate, in the form of emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. 

What is the connection between our children and the lives we seek to lead?

I know that I continue to learn everyday from our little Kaya, and am continually impressed with not only what she has to offer, but the outer reaches of what is possible when we stay open and aware and committed to our deepest purpose.

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