The story goes that the Buddha-to-be was raised in a pleasure palace separate from the suffering of the world. One day he escaped the palace and saw, for the first time, the effects of old age, illness and death. These visions of the first three "Heavenly Messengers" shocked him out of his concern with impermanent pleasures. Then he saw a mendicant with a begging bowl, following a spiritual path, and he was powerfully called to that path himself. It was this fourth messenger that drove home the point that what really counts is liberation from the suffering caused by hollow attachments.
We don't need to see ascetics to be reminded of the possibility of liberation. Whatever form this Fourth Heavenly Messenger takes, it can call us back to spiritual awareness and our true, full potential. Join us Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, to consider this teaching and the ways we can receive and heed that liberating fourth message.