The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The fact is there is no permanent self. When we speak of self-realization in Zen, we're indulging in yet another paradox. What we're realizing when all the old images of who and what we are drop away, is freedom from that narrow little self we've placed at the center of everything: Oh, is that the way it is? How could I not have seen it when it was there all along? Nobody there. What a relief!
It's not that we don't physically exist, but that we're constantly changing, so that there's never a moment when the self we thought we were a minute ago hasn't become something new. Our busy mind with its constantly running narrative--I like this. I hate that. I'm this kind of person and she's that kind of person; I can't stand her--presents us with the illusion of a solid, fixed entity. The trouble comes when that entity is threatened--not by something really dangerous, like a tiger, which the body/mind instinctively know to run away from--but by the endless chatter about imagined dangers to the self we've lavished so much time and attention fabricating.
We all do this--whether we're "enlightened" or not. The important thing is to remain alert and attentive to our own tendencies and not fall prey to the idea that our self is more special than anyones else's.

--from A New Zen For Women, by Pearl Besserman

No comments: