Wednesday, November 22, 2017
you are the awakened heart
The teaching I most resonate with in Zen is that we are all already Buddhas, but our delusions keep us from knowing this. On one level, the practice of Zen helps us to see through these delusions. But they are so persistent. The ideas that we maintain and nourish, that we are not good enough, and that we need to change who we are to become Buddhas, are deeply painful. I see evidence of the clinging to this delusion every day, in myself and in others. When I see it arise in my own students, my response is almost always to point out the delusion in some way. I look at people and see Buddhas. It's both a gift and a curse. Of course, when I look in the mirror, I don't always see a Buddha. It's hard for us all to accept this teaching.
And yet, every once in a while, our desperate clinging to a separate and inferior self drops away. We don't get rid of it. It just wears itself out, through the practice of sitting upright and facing everything. And in those moments, the great kindness that fills the universe shows up and there's no way to deny it. At these times, we scramble to go back to the familiarity of our incompetence and inferiority. Eventually, after a few seconds or hours or days, we re-establish our sense of self and confirm our lack of Buddha nature. But the world keeps picking at our cherished self-opinion.
This practice is about surrendering to this wild possibility: that we, as we are right now, with all of our faults and personality quirks and, yes, delusions -- this being showing up right now is the Buddha, a manifestation of the awakened heart.