ii-3. The Awakened One

Buddhism fundamentally addresses a practical problem. What utterly influences me is the practical orientation of Buddhism, in this sense, Buddhism differs with academic theories. The Buddhist approach is to perceive a real problem and deal with it in a practical way. Buddhism is mere a guide to verify the truth by means of recourse to personal experience, based on the practical approach, that is “meditation.”

Walking is a primal act of mobility and a basic transportational utility. But taking a few steps forward involves an enormous amount of diverse coordinated elements, such as the neuron system; muscles and joints; sense of balance; friction between feet and ground; the possibility of tiny creatures being crushed to death under one's feet. In order to comprehend the full complexity of the process of traveling by foot, we must consider it an interactive event that consists of the transformation of energy; the exchange of information within the body and with its surroundings. In other words, more things that we cannot be aware of are effecting each other. The act of walking in itself can be seen as a metaphor for how seemingly simple and everyday things are composed of an unimaginable complexity.

Let us look around how people nowadays walk on streets. Everyone seems to have an urgent appointment to rush for. Perhaps, the destination is a mere attention which we focus on when walking. The average human walking speed is about 5.0km/h.The average human step frequency is 2-3 steps per second which means one can walk about 83m per minute by about 150 steps. But we walk faster than the average speed in urban life or even we don't walk, in general, rather ride a car or a bicycle. It might be possible in human life not to walk, since there are many alternative options for travel, but in animal life, it isn't. If we look very closely how dogs, the oldest domestic animal, walk, we may learn another meaning of walking in our daily life. Human can sit still for very long with watching TV, smart phones, working on lap tops, or reading something without going out of doors. But dogs must go for a walk, at least once, everyday. Walking is an essential activity which can be replaced with nothing of their life, which means they are a master of walking. Let us go for a walk with a dog and let him teach us how to open our senses to smell, feel, hear, and look around our surroundings while walking. In this way, we can practice mediation. We walk with freedom and solidity, no longer in a hurry, giving our full attention to each steps and breathes. As dogs let themselves use enough their sense of smell and feel euphoric and contended when walking, we smell the scent of air, listen to the birds, see the immensity of sky, and feel the gentleness of breezes walking in peace. If we walk in this way, at least once, everyday, we may be more and more connected with nature and ourselves, eventually discover the gratitude on the earth and life. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, the practice mindful walking is a profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection our body and the earth.

Walking is different things to different people. To Buddhist monks walking is one of meditations to practice of the presence, it was a noble art to Henry David Thoreau that brought him into the wilderness, to Nietzsche it was where he could enhance his thoughts, and it was an emancipation from work to Kant. But what we must place emphasis on here is walking is/was their daily routine, and it is the essence of walking as a meditative moment that will reconnect us with nature in our everyday life.

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