The Yoke’s on You


Faith is the seed, practice the rain,
And wisdom is my yoke and plow.
Modesty’s the pole, mind the strap,
Mindfulness my plowshare and goad.

Body and speech are guarded well,
And food and drink have been restrained.
Truthfulness I use for weeding,
And gentleness urges me on.

Effort is my beast of burden,
Pulling me onward to safety.
On it goes without returning,
Where, having gone, one does not grieve.

This is how I plow my plowing —
The crop it yields is deathlessness!
And when one has plowed this plowing,
One is released from all suffering.

(Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta)

I am not going to try to expound on the Buddha’s words here, as I think he put it beautifully and clearly. And these are words that I want to read and re-read from time to time.
But what I would like to address is the Buddha’s use of the word “faith”. In Pali, the word that Buddha used is called Saddha, which means something closer to “confidence” or “conviction.”
It is the conviction that develops from one’s own direct experiences and practice.
Once we understand this, I think the rest is spelled out clearly by the Buddha.
Again I think the Buddha lays out a road-map for each of us.
It’s clear, gentle, loving and kind. We only need to listen, learn and practice.

Namo Buddhaya