Shohaku Okumura

‘When we live our lives based on self-centered desire and the idea of permanence, we grasp at things that we like and try to push away things that we don’t like. We may think that is we try hard enough we can make our lives into something permanently agreeable. We cling to what is “good” in our lives and expect it not to change. We try to protect our egos and make them important and powerful by becoming better than others. Sometimes we succeed and we are happy, and sometimes we fail and feel terrible; this is samsara. Samsara is a Buddhist term that usually refers to the “cycle of existence,” the transmigration or rebirth of a person through the six realms of existence: hell, the hungry ghost realm, the animal realm, the realm of fighting spirits, the human realm and the realm of heavenly beings.
However, here I interpret samsara as the emotional “up-and-down” quality of our lives; sometimes we are as happy as heavenly beings but in the next moment descend into the misery of a hell dweller. We create samsara in an unending cycle as we attempt to protect our egos.’ (Realizing Genjokoan)

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