They say that for the awakened, all the sounds of the world are the sound of the Buddha's voice. Well that's just great for them, isn't it? They're already awakened, and as if that weren't good enough, they hear all sounds as pure and beautiful, the bastards! So I ask, what about the rest of us, huh? What about that howling dog? My neighbor's dog has been howling at night for five years, since he was just a puppy. The wretched thing is still howling now! Once he opens his mouth, the sound just streams out, wailing, angry, and desperate. This is not the kind of awakening I was hoping for.

My practice, then, is to turn those pitiful howls into the pleasing sound of the dharma. And of course, the howls' pitifulness is where I find the solution I want to share with you. That poor dog is so unhappy! His little world is so unsatisfying. He cries out, and I hear him. When I think of our relationship, I think of Kanzeon, the great bodhisattva "who hears the cries of the world." I think of myself as Kanzeon. Talk about empowering!

Franz Metcalf in Just Add Buddha!