Toni Packer

‘Seeing is never from memory. It has no memory. It is looking now. The total organism is involved in seeing. Not thinking about what is said from memory, but listening and looking openly now. No one can do that for us. We can only do that ourselves, discovering directly whether what is heard, said, or read is actually so.
Most of the time we take on faith that whatever comes from a respectable or traditional source is true. But we’re asking whether one can find out firsthand, not secondhand, but firsthand, first sight, whether what is said, heard, and read is actually so. Not that one takes over mechanically what someone else says. One has to be very clear within oneself that “Yes, this is so,” or “No, it isn’t so,” or “I don’t know, let me find out.”‘ (The Work of this Moment)

I noticed that my first reaction when I read this again recently was something along the lines of ‘there is no fake news in zazen’ – and yet I know only too well that we can easily delude ourselves with our thoughts even while sitting. What Toni Packer is talking about is the deep rigorous self-inquiry that Buddha spoke about to his disciples; it is interesting that these timeless instructions, which in this case come from a book published in 1990, before the internet bloomed, take on a different hue when read in these current times.

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