As a star, a visual aberration, a lamp, an illusion, dew, a bubble, a dream, lightning, and a cloud – view all the compounded like that.
We think we’re being diligent by sitting down to meditate for hours at a stretch. But real diligence doesn’t mean focusing yourself beyond your natural limits; it means simply trying to do your best, rather than focusing on the result of what you’re trying to accomplish. It means finding a comfortable middle ground between being too relaxed and too wound up.
Our grasping at what is me and mine puts up walls that can make our world close in on us. We end up peering through narrow windows and seeing what goes on around us through a myopic lens. No wonder there is such a sense of alienation and loneliness in the world. Opening up to the view of interconnectedness helps us to break down the barriers erected by our own egocentrism and to emerge from the narrow and dark cell in which we tend to shut ourselves.
Buddha-nature is pure, undefiled, unelaborated, unconditioned, transcending all concepts. It is not an object of dualistic thought and intellectual knowledge. It is, however, open to gnosis, intuition, the nondual apperception of intrinsic awareness itself, prior to or upstream of consciousness. Adventitious obscurations temporarily veil and, like clouds, obscure this pristine, sky-like, luminous fundamental nature or mind essence—also known as tathagatagarbha, buddha-nature.
All conventional practices along the gradual path to liberation and enlightenment aim to uncover this innate wisdom by removing and dissolving the obscurations, revealing what has always been present. This is the relation between how things appear to be and how things actually are: in short, the two levels of truth, absolute and relative or conventional truth. According to these two truths, there are different levels of practice.
Your search among books, word upon word, may lead you to the depths of knowledge, but it is not the way to receive the reflection of your true self. When you have thrown off your ideas as to mind and body, the original truth will fully appear. Zen is simply the expression of truth; therefore longing and striving are not the true attitudes of Zen.
All the various types of teachings and spiritual paths are related to the different capacities of understanding that different individuals have. There does not exist, from an absolute point of view, any teaching which is more perfect or effective than another. A teaching’s value lies solely in the inner awakening which an individual can arrive at through it. If a person benefits from a given teaching, for that person that teaching is the supreme path, because it is suited to his or her nature and capacities. There’s no sense in trying to judge it as more or less elevated in relation to other paths to realization.
Start to look at and relate to everything and everyone around you as if you were seeing them for the last time.
Within the sky-like empty mind, habitual tendencies and disturbing emotions are just like clouds and mist. When they appear, they appear within the expanse of empty mind. When they remain, they remain within the expanse of empty mind. And when they dissolve, they dissolve in that same expanse of empty mind.