Buddhism, Mindfulness, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual Practice, Zen, Zen practice

Supremely Awakened

In the Vandana Ti Sarana, we chant, “Homage to him the Exalted One, the Enlightened One, the Supremely Awakened One.  Homage means that we show special respect and deep honor to Buddha.  He is supremely awakened.  Awakened means that we are more awake after we wake up in the morning.  When we are awake, we can see in our mind our thoughts and how they lead to the words we say and to our actions, what we do, when we are awake during the day and night, and not asleep in our beds.

When we are awake, we see the thoughts that appear in our mind.  That’s why we look inward when we meditate.  We practice with our thoughts.  When we see our thoughts as they rise up, we can decide what to do with them.  When we are doing zazen, or meditation, we watch in our mind our breaths going in and out.  When a thought comes into our head, we are aware of it and we let it be.  We don’t take it anywhere, and we don’t let it take us.  We go back to our breaths, and we let the thought come in and float on by.  When we know our thoughts like this, then we can decide what to do with them.

When a thought leads to words, we can see before we speak what words are there.  The words lead to actions, to the things that we do.  When we see what our thoughts are, we can choose what words to say (before we say them) and what actions we take (before we do them).

If we can choose our words and actions, then we can practice saying and doing kind and caring things to other beings.  We decide to stop doing things that scare, confuse, and hurt other people.  We decide to say and do things that help the world and every single being in it.  That is what a supremely awakened person, like the Buddha (and like the Buddha inside of us) does.

Personal Ethics, Self Help, Self-Awareness, Spiritual Practice

Come Into the Light

I believe that when we move along in life, we realize that treating ourselves and those around us with kindness, consideration, and compassion becomes the very point of living.  Not only does this type of awareness and behavior make our existing life happy, but it will come to play at the end of life.  Regret and remorse over what we did, and did not do, to and for ourselves, and to and for others, weighs heavy.  It makes our departure all that much harder.

We talk about people’s demons: these inner monsters hold the reins to self-centered, inconsiderate, hurtful, and inhumane behavior.  These demons are nothing other than manifestations of hurt, anger, and self-loathing.  We do anything to deny, divert, mask, and avoid facing our hidden pain.  To get in touch with these forces of destruction, we have to look at our own hurt, to begin with.  It is deep-seated, unconscious, you might say.  To heal, we have to go deep and bring up this pain and hurt to the surface, to the light.  We do this by examining–inquiring into–every single thought that arises in our mind.  By doing this, we begin to see what kinds of thoughts occupy our everyday mind and drive our words and actions.  We get in touch with our hurt, from childhood (when virtually every person we encounter can either lift us to our potential or damage our psyche and soul by the manifestation of their own hurt) and all ensuing encounters throughout our life.

Meditation, counseling, and a spiritual path are tools (guides) for diving to the bottom of self.  When we deny and fail to know and take responsibility for our own mind, we are driven by the unconscious manifestations of hurt, and then anger, and then destructive words and actions.  This cycle creates more and more self-loathing, and suffering-for ourselves and everyone around us.

There may be nothing more frightening than looking deeply into our own personal darkness.  When we lack that courage, though, the demons from the darkness most certainly drive our life.  We have a choice.  It is a personal thing.  No one can make us do anything.  It’s up to us.  Every single moment of every single day we live with ourselves, within our own minds.  The path of self-awareness takes ultimate courage.  We make the workings of own minds as conscious and transparent as we can.  When we are able to do this, we are living our own lives.  Otherwise, we are victim to everything everybody has ever said or done to us, and to the things that happen beyond our control.

Live a conscious life.  Live a true life.  Live your own life.