‘I was in the middle of a weeklong meditation retreat when our teacher posed a simple and profound question: “Do you really trust you are a Buddha?” My inner response was “Absolutely… sometimes.” Countless times I had perceived my heart and mind awakening into freedom. In those moments, trust arose from a full-body realization that my original nature is pure awareness. When I was resting in the truth, I felt fully real and at home. Yet I knew that I also spend huge swaths of time each day believing I was a small self who was falling short and needed to be different in order to be okay.
Wishing to become more mindful of this persistent illusion of a small self, during the remainder of the retreat I periodically asked myself, “Who am I taking myself to be?” I was a meditator carried away by obsessive thinking and not trying hard enough. I was a woman wearing clothes that were too sexy and immodest for a Buddhist retreat. I was a judgmental person, running a constant commentary in my mind about how others appeared and behaved. I was a self-conscious yogi, wanting to impress my teacher during our interview. The question proved to be a very useful tool in revealing how fully and how often I slipped into the trance. I could see that wherever I took myself to be some version of a small self, I wasn’t recognizing or trusting the wakeful presence that is my deepest nature. While not always intense, some feeling of fear and separation was always present.’
- Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance, Awakening the Love that Heals Fear and Shame Within Us.
Can you talk more about the wrongful dogma of Catholicism you mentioned it in your previous anon and I didn't really understamd
I wouldn’t call it “wrongful dogma”, just unhelpful dogma. Believing that we are inherently guilty of our ancestor’s mistakes and that we need an external source, like a saviour God or grace, in order to become fully human again only serves to perpetuate the conditions we see so prevalent in western, Christian cultures that create self-hatred and low self esteem.
I believe that humans are fundamentally “good”. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Hmm, how can I cause the most suffering today?” Even the most terrible of people act so because they feel like it’s the best thing to do, even if they know it’s not right. E.g. Susan talked behind my back? I’m going to make up rumors about Susan to get back at her because that will relieve the injustice I feel done to me. Even people who start genocides because of racist ideologies feel like it’s the “good thing to do”, even if their actions cause horrible amounts of suffering.
That is the innate goodness of human nature, but because of hatred, attachments, and ignorance, we act in unbeneficial ways that create conditions for suffering.
It’s not helpful to believe that we are inherently unworthy and deserving of a hell- an eternal place of suffering. It’s no wonder that those who cling so strongly to such myths and are inseparably attached to dogma are the ones who act in seriously prejudiced ways. The only way out of the cycle of guilt that many Christians feel trapped in is to simply realize that we are layer upon layer of years of conditioned behaviours and identities. There really is nothing to change about us, only to unlearn.
I’m going to start a small series of posts on the ‘Tan Butsu
Ge’ AKA “The Song in Praise of The Buddha, Song of The Life of No Regret”
I know for some the word “Praise” can seem quite scary or
too reminiscent of a Judo-Christian system of thought, but in this context,
praise is said in the same way Veneration would be used, and not as Worship.
The passage is in great thanks and veneration of the Buddha’s accomplishments.
The Tan Bustu Ge is a very short section of the Great
Eternal Life Sutra from the Jodo Sin Shu sect of Mahayana Buddhism.
As Sensei Gyomay Kubose says, “Although the Tan Butsu Ge is
very short when compared with the entire sutra, it expresses the essence of the
entire Sutra, it expresses the Essence of the whole Sutra of Eternal Life. In
fact, it contains the essence of Buddhism.”
Just this. Just this, this room where we are. Pay attention to that. Pay attention to who’s there. Pay attention to what isn’t known there. Pay attention to what is known there. Pay attention to what everyone is thinking or feeling; what you’re doing there. Pay attention. Pay attention.
W.S. Merwin on Nirvana and the Buddha’s revelation