lotus, buddha


By Tyler Lewke 


Bill Bryson wrote, “It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.”

Until I investigated further this probably would have been the extent of how I would have described my personal understanding of The Resurrection.

res·ur·rec·tion (rĕz′ə-rĕk′shən)

  • The act of rising from the dead or returning to life.
  • The state of one who has returned to life.
  • The act of bringing back to practice, notice, or use; revival.

My search for a deeper understanding of Resurrection took me everywhere—church pews, quirky conversations with holy people and book upon book of wisdom teachings. The Jesus that I now know comes from my quiet and intimate study of teachings, not from formal religion. I’ve integrated much of this wisdom into my daily life and spiritual practice and I’m much better off as a result.

I discovered, when I compare the words of Jesus to the teachings of the Buddha, it’s very difficult to find contradictions.

“Redemption and resurrection are neither words nor objects of belief. They are our daily practice. We practice in such a way that Buddha is born every moment of our daily life, that Jesus Christ is born every moment of our daily life.”

“When we understand and practice deeply the life and teachings of Buddha or the life and teachings of Jesus, we penetrate the door and enter the abode of the living Buddha and the living Christ, and life eternal presents itself to us.”

~ from Living Buddha, Living Christ

It wasn’t until I had my own intimate experience with resurrection that I fully got what renewal and rebirth could provide.

My journal from that day:

The soot makes the climb harder.

She was in the center of the inferno and the first 50 feet of her got cooked alive. The burn is thin—it feels like philo dough and flakes off as I cling, climbing higher and higher.

I couldn’t have gotten here a year ago—couldn’t have gotten near her. The fire had raged for days—burning years of history and memories and wiping out nearly all the life that wasn’t ready.

As I hiked up to her, the similarities between here and home begin to overwhelm me. It feels like we’ve all emerged from our own fires—as a world, as a nation, as a man, the soot still clinging to me, the aftermath still devastating and real.

The fire here was so intense, it even burned out it’s own trace.

The smaller trees aren’t half cooked—half dead; the ground isn’t covered with ash and debris. You don’t see the soot on those other tree’s—they simply don’t exist anymore.

The rage was so intense what once was simply is or isn’t now. They either fully made it or they didn’t. Plain and simple.

In the redwoods it’s still and quiet. I have more reverence than before–seeing how the fire cleared way for them—anything holding them back has been removed and now they are free—free to spread and strengthen and renew again. It’s like watching the earths own Resurrection and I wonder if it’s the third day like the bible says.

The fire awakens a redwood forest—years of the world’s muck had been building up around their bases—the air not as clean, the sun not as visible. The ground became crowded and a fight for nutrients was well under way. Then the fires began and the awakening, the resurrection, commenced.

I climbed for hours. When I get up into her I look back to see my progress. Her blackened core is as solid, straight and significant as ever. At her base I see the angels—the ring of new tree’s that emerged, resurrected immediately in the hours after the flames died back. A perfect circle, guardians of the giant—patiently waiting, emerging, preparing for resurrection again and again—it’s this magnificent tree’s divine back up plan.

If the fire took her she’d resurrect form the circle of seeds, emerging stronger than ever.

I think about how blackened we are—how we’ve emerged from the fire and what we’re left with. I think about my guardians and the circles that surround our nation, this planet, and me.

I realize resurrection is within all of us, nobody gets thru without resurrecting a few times. It all looks different and sounds different and we all experience it differently… but we all resurrect.

I watch the waterfall. I stand on her limb and am jealous of her silence and strength and steadiness amidst the complete chaos of the water.

She’s who I want to be—alive because of the chaos, steady, straight and strong because of my deep commitment to it all.

“Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.” ~ Phillips Brooks


Tyler teaching Dhamma in Sri LankaTyler Lewke is brutally irreverent, often way too direct and it gets him in trouble. He’s an optimistic pessimist, a grateful dad and friend, a hardcore capitalist, and a deep-seeking mindful and compassionate guy who’s most inspired by helping people through the bullshit parts of religion and spirituality to define a life of joy and contemplative service to others.

Tyler was born months before the official end of the Vietnam War on the Campus of Washington State University to a hippy mom and a heady scientist dad with an IQ that rivals Einstein… a combo that has left him totally out of place in the mainstream.

Tyler lives in the sky in downtown Chicago, in a 100 year-old bungalow in suburban Illinois and from his backpack as he explores the world. He teaches meditation and mindful leadership, has written as a form of art and spiritual practice every day for as long as he can remember. He shares his personal stories of integrating a spiritual life into a daily mainstream existence through his daily blog where he posts his raw, firsthand joys and struggles of trying to practice these mindful principles in all his affairs. Tyler thinks we all have only one real job, to add more love to the world.


Photo: tumblr

Editor: Dana Gornall