Another meaning behind Buddha’s simile of a star is that of constancy. Constancy is not related to its conditioned existence but to star conveying a teaching about meditation and truth of Being.
Yes, as a conditioned thing, the expression of a star will one-day, cease. Its light will stop and its expression as a star will no longer be. But, as a simile for meditation, the star represents constancy, meditative stability so majestic and unpreturbed as to be constant, like the light of the Sun is.
Furthermore, the light of the Sun can demonstrate as constant because it is a manifestation of the buddha nature, inner radiant Beingness, of the being who is demonstrating through the Sun. Or, for the simile, through any star.
As such, this is the teaching for our meditation: constancy in meditation. Be star-like.
The simile of a star for conditioned things and existence might not be as obvious in its teaching as a mirage or dew drop, illusion or flash of lightning. A star seems so awesome, so majestic and perfect.
The “teaching” before we meditated explains that we know next to nothing factually about stars. The science is rudimentary, replete with surmising, and tries to put a star, its workings, and its capacity into the small box of currently practiced physics. If the physics understood by the ancient human beings who could levitate megalithic stones into perfect positioning were used, there might be some verity. But that is not the case.
In other words, we factually know next to nothing about stars; and the same is so of all conditioned things, people, events and circumstances. Generally, we human beings interact with and react to the surface, the obvious, the right-before us. The voluminous background of energies, causes and conditions, and untapped potential is rarely pondered, and even less frequently engaged.
It is this fundamental ignorance that is one meaning behind the simile of a star regarding conditioned things and existence.
Each of the similes given by the Buddha (posted below) are intended for vipashyana contemplation and to be carried through the day. Each provides volumes of pondering and observation of self and life. Each also directs one to truly look, to deeply consider self, people, events, circumstances, and all that appears and appears to exist. Is any of it as one perceives?
In this meditation, dew drop is considered. Ethereal, temporary, beautiful, delightful, impermanent, transitory, fleeting in nature: the dew drop dazzles the onlooker with glistening beauty. But, in a short while, the dew drop will be gone and will have left no trace of its existence, like bird tracks in the sky.
All is impermanent; whether beautiful, beguiling, seemingly real and lasting such as the sense of self-identity, or difficult like pain and loss. All is transitory.
What does this contemplation mean in the context of vipashyana? Increasing truth of perception.
It could seem that one’s meditation practice is done for oneself. Yet, if one’s practice is bearing fruit, one’s way with the world, one’s day, and everyone in it will become more thought-full, heart-full, kind, respectful, and selfless. If any of these modifications or improvements transpire, then the world is eased from one person’s ignorance and self-centered self-importance.
The truth is that there is only this moment. The past is gone and the future does not exist. In this moment, you and I create reality. The meditation being posted occurred before I watched the documentary, Seeds, and the meditation is simple, true to moment, participatory in the Now. But, as I watched Seeds, I thought of all the ways that I contribute to the degradation of our world and the ways that I contribute to its health and well being. Meditation has made me understand that responsibility is not an option or a luxury. It is mine to live and live from every moment, and that’s inspiring.
May you be inspired too. Our world, our home, and all the beings in it, need humanity to care, to be inspired, and to live each moment from the heart and a peaceful mind.