Friday, August 10, 2007

Empty Layers

Seeing to the very core of your being means letting go of everything you ever learned about who you are. You are not what you think you are. You are not who you think you are. You are. That's it. That's everything that's true. All else is one layer painted over another of what you have learned since the day you were born. One layer over another of conditioning, ideas, biases, and impressions. A new layer is added each time you let your emotions, your anger, your hatred, your grasping love, your jealousy, your pride, control you without stopping and questioning what is really going on. Each time you unquestioningly allow your thoughts and emotions to control you, instead of the other way around, you get that much farther from who you really are. Stop yourself. Investigate what's behind your thoughts and emotions. Look for those gaps between them and see the clear, bright mind in the background. See yourself as a living presence able to awaken to the beauty of everything in the universe. You are. Don't just nod your head in agreement, see it with everything in your body. Then let even that go as well and see just 'are.' Start with "You aren't who you think you are," then on your zafu get rid of "think" and then get rid of "you." Strip one layer off after another until you can manifest only "are."

You don't accomplish this by accumulating knowledge, you accomplish this by letting go and just being. As Musō Kokushi pointed out, even the simple stream is able to manifest this truth as it rolls for thousands of miles from the top of a mountain all the way down to the ocean — therefore, so can you. "The sounds of the stream splash out the Buddha's sermon. Don't say that the deepest meaning comes only from one's mouth. Day and night eighty thousand poems arise one after the other, and in fact not a single word has ever been spoken."

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