Enlightenment is not about becoming something or someone else. It is the recognition of our intrinsic human nature, which is absolute truth. This absolute true nature is called "Buddha nature." The term Buddha, from the Sanskrit tatha, or tathagata, means "gone beyond," going beyond an ignorant state to become completely inseparable from absolute truth, which is our genuine ground. This is the essence of Buddhism and the main focus of our understanding and practice.
~ Mindroling Khandro Rinpoche
James's comment: This reminds me of the precious Heart Sutra:
Om gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Soha.
This is of course the most famous teaching on emptiness. It is is also a great quote to teach us that the Buddha is not someone or something to worship or not worship rather it is an acknowledgement that each one of us is a Buddha in fact everything is a Buddha as well as a non-Buddha. Everything is a Bodhisattva and a non-Bodhisattva. Thus, in bowing to a Buddha statue we are bowing to our "Buddha nature" or the Buddha within us all and everything that exists.
Each one of us is capable of "going beyond" an ignorant state to become One with form and non-form.
More commentary on the prajna paramita:
We can use the analogy of the water and the wave. The water is life itself, and the wave is an expression of the water. The wave is no other than the water, and the water is no other than the wave, but the wave doesn’t have own being: its own being is the water. A wave is dependent on wind and weather conditions for its existence, and, of course, it is dependent on a great body of water. So, each wave is an expression of a body of water just like each one of us is an expression of life itself. This is called "being empty," and "being empty" also means being full. I think it is important to remember that, whenever we say something in Buddhism, its opposite is also included. This is called the non-duality of duality. If you say, "I am alive," "I am dead" is also included. If you say, "I am dead," "I am alive" is also included. Otherwise, you fall into duality and you only see in a partial way.
To see things as they are completely is to end suffering. Not that there is not some pain; life is painful. Even though we may be saved from suffering, it doesn’t mean that there is no suffering, or that we won’t suffer, but we should know how to accept that suffering and know how to accept our pain, and know how to accept our joy. Whatever arises, this is our life. True life is more important than any one aspect of life. Fundamental life is more important than any one aspect of life. If we understand this, then we can appreciate our life no matter what happens. This is maturity and this is what we experience in zazen. In zazen we say, well what was it like? Well, it was painful, and it was joyful, and it was whatever you want to say. But each one of those aspects we accept equally. This is what zazen is. Whatever comes up, this is it. When it is painful, it is just painful. When it is joyful, it is just joyful. We just accept each moment as it is, with what it is, with deep appreciation. This view is the aspect of enlightenment. So we say zazen is enlightenment/practice. The practice is not discriminating, not picking and choosing.
-Peace to all beings-
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Posted by They call him James Ure at 9:53 AM