Monday, April 03, 2006

Set your compass to Buddha nature

Every sentient being is
Ready to be enlightened
At every moment.
The only hindrance
Is not recognizing
The purity and limitlessness
Of Buddha nature.
We may have inklings
Of our limitless quality,
But we don’t fully recognize it,
So we become focused
On the relative I, the self.

Tesshu Tokusai (?–1366)


I have read how other "new" Buddhists are overwhelmed by the principle of no-self.

There certainly is something intimidating if not downright frightening about being told that everything you always thought was central to a well-lived life—finding your "true self," maximizing your potential, achieving "self-realization"—was in fact an unhelpful and pointless distraction.

I have tried to think of it in terms of being a mindful, compassionate part of the Whole. I am not responsible to find my "Self" any more than I am responsible to find the Bermuda Triangle or the Northwest Passage.

My responsibility (as one who has been given this precious human life) is to treat all beings I encounter with lovingkindness, genuine concern and compassion, and to take joy in the lives of others. Through meditation and waking mindfulness, I can "remagnetize" my internal compass to steer away from defilements and unwholesome practices.

Go forth, brothers and sisters in the dharma - remagnetize!


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