Master Obaku, the teacher of Master Rinzai, was famous for his frequent admonition to his students, “Don’t expect anything from the Three Treasures.” Time after time he was heard to say this. One day, however, Master Obaku was observed in the act of bowing, and was challenged about his practice.
“You always tell your students not to expect anything from the Three Treasures,” said the questioner, “and yet you have been making deep bows.” In fact, he had been bowing so frequently and for so long that a large callous had formed on his forehead at the point where it touched the hard floor. When asked how he explained this, Master Obaku replied, “I don’t expect. I just bow.”
This is the state of being one with the Three Treasures. Let us just make gassho. Let us just bow.
Taizan Maezumi Roshi
In a world where women have been seen traditionally as someone’s wife, mother, daughter, or sister, why would a woman choose to follow a spiritual path? Perhaps because, deep inside every woman has a longing to “be” someone in her own right—fully aware of herself, confident and in control. When we talk of spiritual power, we are in fact referring to the original power of the self to be whole and independent—free from the web of domination and suppression, free from the need to exist for someone else’s sake. … Women know how to serve and how to give. Often the notion of service or of putting others in front has been seen as a sign of weakness or lack of power. Quite the opposite is true. The ability to bow before others, with true humility, is the sign of the greatness of a soul who has conquered ego.
However this quality of giving to others must also be balanced with qualities of courage, determination, clear thinking and self-respect. Too often, women have a tendency to give to others and neglect their own spiritual needs. It is one of the major reasons women find themselves depleted and lacking in spiritual power. The foundation for assuming spiritual leadership is thus a change of consciousness. … The quality of self-respect comes from the knowledge and experience of the eternal self which is beyond social, cultural or physical identity. The eternal self or soul is pure, peaceful and complete with divine and spiritual qualities. When women touch this inner, eternal core, they gain the courage to play the part they are capable of.
Spiritual power is an expression of the inherent qualities of the spirit and has nothing to do with gender or physical limitations. Feelings of domination or suppression occur when there is the awareness of superiority or inferiority. Feelings of equality, however, manifest when there is the consciousness of spirit or soul. These feelings and attitudes can be expressed in actions with positive results. – Sudesh Didi
Prostration is surrender, but very few people prostrate with genuine confidence; they don’t think, “I am prostrating to the deity who is none other than myself, and likewise the deity is prostrating to me.” Knowing that the deity and the prostrator are one and the same is the ultimate prostration.
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche