Shodo Harada

‘When one sees clearly into one’s own mind, one sees that the worlds of the hell beings, the hungry ghosts, the angry gods, the animals, humans and heavenly beings are all based within oneself – that we are the vehicle. But the self-conscious ego is very heavy and is always pushing us to the right and to the left. It is easy to believe that when this small ego dies, this self-conscious self, then there will be nothing more, that life will end. But such a way of seeing things is just not accurate.
Nothing will truly disappear; nothing real will die. The flow of the universe just as it is, vast and infinite – this continuity is the substance of our true body. From our own experience of clarity and serenity we can recognize this as ourselves. Of course the self-conscious ego manifests in many different forms, one after the other. These, however, are all contained in and moving within the great womb of the universe. In reality there is not even an actual ego to be reborn. It is because people think there is a separate self that they believe in reincarnation. They think they are moving through these different worlds of the animals, humans, heavenly beings, and so on. But the universal self is not such a tiny limited thing. It is vast spaciousness, infinite expansiveness – this is what we are!’ (The Path to Bodhidharma)

I don’t know about clarity or serenity, but when I read a passage like this, there is a space in me that opens up and relaxes. I trust that this is how things really are, even though I am unable to grasp them in a way that I can recognize. This is what keeps me on this path.

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