Friday, January 08, 2010
Enlightenment is a description of a very ordinary state, the most ordinary state.
It cannot exist separate from time which can only be right now and it is identified with and not separate from every thing in that moment of experience. It can only be enacted at one time so it is not an achievement and has no qualities that can be adequately described. Something real can only ever be described, hinted at. Mistaking our excellent descriptions for something real is an activity we do consistently that leads us to live lives constructed in imagination rather than rooted in what is really happening.
The sense that enlightenment is something you can pursue, get and hold on to is mistaken.
Not stepping away from what is real is enlightened behaviour. Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back because our very active human minds are always abstracting real experience. We do things that alter our state so that we cannot act in accord with reality but fight it, meet it at odd angles that produce obstruction and difficulty and that then is our reality. Releasing the constructions of the self we have imprisoned ourselves with, we can return to normal. This accepting and releasing of the self is not merely an intellectual exercise. In activity, it has an effect of accepting and releasing on the whole being and simultaneously all experience - this is a definition of zazen.
We can do something to maintain ourselves in our original state that is identified with what is real and does not abstract and obstruct itself, that doesn't tie itself in knots. One thing we can do to get our constructed, restricted selves out of the way of our real lives is zazen.
Buddhism is real action with real space with real time not what we think about.
Poetry always seems to describe the state called enlightened best:
Past, present, future; unattainable,
clear is the moteless sky.
Late tonight, the stool is cold as iron,
the moonlit window smells of plum.