Saturday, January 15, 2005

A Fresh Perspective

I was reading a review for the book, Buddhism Plain and Simple By Steve Hagen and I was quite impressed. Especially with one paragraph that gave me a different and fresh perspective about enlightenment and Buddhism.

According to the review by Taft Lowell "Early on in the book, Hagen writes "You are already enlightened. All you've got to do is stop blocking yourself and get serious about attending to what's going on. You are not lacking a thing. You need only to stop blocking or interpreting your vision." How easy it is to get caught up in our thoughts, to let that override the direct perception of what is at hand. One of the things I used to glibly do when some friend would ask me what Buddhism was about, was to answer that it was about living in the now. I stopped doing that when a friend asked me, "I don't understand what you mean, but okay, so how many nows are in an hour?" It is to this moment -- the moment right now, while you're reading words in this sentence -- the only moment there is, that the book is directed."

This is why I call myself a rogue Buddhist mystic. I do not exactly believe in following all of the rituals and attending the sanghas in order to achieve enlightenment, wisdom and peace. All of these things are already within us. We are already enlightened as Hagen says. We just have to remember to live in the here and now and remember that we are perfect in our nature. We have to uncover layers of superficial "life" that we have built up upon and around ourselves to reach it but it is there. Our perfection and enlightenment is solidly in place. Just as the Lotus blossom is found underneath layers and layers of dense mud and water. It slowly rises out of these layers to bloom in it's inherent glory and beautiful enlightened state.

The idea that we are already enlightened might seem quite radical to traditional Buddhist's but think about it seriously for a moment. We need look no further then our children to see that enlightened state. They are perfect in their child-like innocence. They are enlightened. What happens in between childhood and adulthood? The ego forms in order to help the child develop and survive but soon becomes out of control and begins to build up false layers of "crap" to "protect" ourselves. Stripping away the ego and certain habits we find the inner, enlightened child. The inner lotus growing out from our hearts. The hidden, precious diamond awareness which cuts through all the "crap" and layers that the adult ego so masterfully crafts and sculpts.

Anyway, I'm really getting heavy into mystical and Buddhist thought but I just wanted to share that quote with you from Steven Hagen. It is such a nice, fresh perspective.

P.S.~Last night we received a light dusting of snow to add to the snow we already have and it has left everything with that "frosted" look. It is so beautiful to watch patches of cotton-like snow fall from the tree branches. What a beautiful world that we inhabit, eh kids?

---End of Transmission---

1 comment:

Meredith said...

Dear james, Sounds like you have ditched the raft. I agree with you, the process of enlightenment is about becoming aware of your uncounscious layers of personality and shedding those layers in order to recognize your original face. Enlightenment is your birthright. It is about who your are fundamentally. And who you are fundamentally is pure and perfect, just as you are. It is also about recognizing the perfection of this moment. There is much acceptance and peace in this statement.

A friend said, "Live moment to moment, joyfully, ecstatically, totally, intensely, passionately... Enlightened or unenlightened, what does it matter?" He went on, "But if you live passionately, your ego dissolves." Like an artist, who begins to paint and goes on painting, a moment comes when the painter dissolves and only the art remains. This is enlightenment. No painter, no doer, no manipulator. There is nobody inside you and there is only emptiness, nothingness. What is born of this space is grace and light. In this space, time does not exist.

That you notice the light dusting of snow, and the beautiful world we inhabit, this is a precious awareness. Inherent in this awareness is gratitude, sure signs of awakening!

I bow deeply to you, my Friend.