Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Acting right, the fictional character ‘me’ is instantly extinguished and replaced by the real state of the universe as it is, revealed to be our true nature. This state is inclusive of and absorbs all phenomena. Buddha reveals everything to be Buddha.
The identification of and with a separate agent ‘I’ that acts separate from the universe it acts within, relating to other ‘I’s’ locked into their separate universes is the cause of dissociation from reality. This is what we call ‘unhappiness’ ‘suffering’ ‘anguish’ ‘pain’ ‘discontentment’ and so on. Without this discrete self, without separation between self and other from self, what could be the cause of unhappiness, what could be made unhappy?
This is the meaning of the Buddha’s assertion that the oneness of reality extinguishes suffering. But how can we break free from the habits of a lifetime? How can we as Dogen puts it, learn to love the real rather than the carved dragon and realise that both can bring on the clouds and the rain?
The idea that there can be some conscious activity of ‘extinguishing’ or ‘discarding’ or ‘breaking free’ is a delusion. The notion that applying precepts to action can change or perfect individuals mounts foolishness on top of foolishness to beget further foolishness.
The practise of attention instantly releases us from old habits. Barriers and obstructions fall away without leaving traces.
We can perceive and practise this directly or treat zazen as something special, as a technique that must be perfected in order to achieve something. When we get up from practising our technique we place another head on top of our own again and begin once again to construct the causes of our own suffering.