Allowing (teisho 1275 – 2012)

Have you met one
Seasoned in the way of allowing?
One with nothing to do
And nothing to master.
Who neither rejects thought,
Nor seeks truth.

This is how we start with our practice and it is the way we end. In other words, there are no beginners, no veterans, and there are no realised ones.  But one can only see this from the perspective of one seasoned in the way of allowing. The direction in which the practice is leading is beyond the dualistic separated world, where everything is in opposition, this being good whereas that is bad, this being right whereas that is wrong.

Who is the one who feels s/he has so much to do, so much to master, who is constantly trying to do the right thing? Constantly wanting the approval of others, who is always stressed out and anxious?  We all long to be seasoned in the way of allowing, who is the one who stands in our way, what is this obstruction?

The obstruction is the sense of self; this feeling comes from awareness reflected back on to itself, knowing reflected back onto itself, the knowing of knowing.  It is so habitual, so constant, it has been with us from the early years of our life. The one seasoned in the way of allowing knows directly. This is why it is said that an awakened person does not know they are awakened; there is no checking back on oneself.  It is this constant checking back that is the problem.  How can we let go of this reflex that is so automatic? We feel this is how it is, this is natural, this is reality.

The verse goes on to say that the real nature of ignorance is Buddha nature itself.  All our anxiety, worry, panic, stress is our true nature. And our true nature is unimpeded knowing,  which has no subject, no object, which simply shines by itself. This light that shines by itself reflects back on itself, and this reflected light is ignorance.  The one seasoned in the way of allowing does not try to find Buddha-nature, does not try to get rid of the obstructions, because s/he knows it is all the unimpeded light of knowing. Everything is already IT. This earth where we stand is the pure lotus land, and this very body the body of Buddha.

When you ask ‘Who am I?’ you are asking in the anticipation that you will find yourself, that you will know yourself, that you will have an experience which is yourself. There is no special experience, and this does not mean that you have to search for something other than an experience. All experience is the appearance of your true nature. You cannot get away from experience.  People feel that the way is to stop feeling, to stop thinking, to stop worrying, judging. But all of this is your true nature.

The verse goes on:

When the dharma body is realized
Things are no more.
The originator of all things
Is innately Buddha.

Things which until now seemed to have their own existence, separate, isolated, are seen to be the pure knowing that you are.  To say that the five skandas are empty is the same as saying they are the appearance of the pure unadulterated light that you are. All dharmas, all things are empty, things come into existence when this light reflects back on to itself.  The desire to exist, the desire to know ourselves, the desire to be something in the world, recognised by others as unique, this is the birth of ignorance, the birth of existence, and it is the birth of suffering.

To believe that one can live without suffering is the primary delusion.  Our practice is not to get rid of suffering, to get away from suffering, it is to go beyond suffering: to see that suffering is also the appearance of the pure light that we are. When you reach the heart of reality, you find neither self nor other. One moon shines in the water everywhere, and all the reflected moons are just that one moon.

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