Shohaku Okumura

‘When we don’t see the reality of our lives, we are ignorant of impermanence, egolessness, that is, emptiness and interdependent origination. We think protecting and strenghtening our ego is most important. When we meet with an object, we judge whether this thing is useful to make our ego happy, and if so, we want to get it and make it our possession. This is greed. When we meet things we don’t like or value, we want to stay away, but somehow those things come toward us. Then we get angry and we hate it.

When we sit facing the wall, it is very clear that all things welling up from our minds are illusions because there are no objects. We only have the wall in front of us. Facing the wall is facing the buddha. We simply sit still in front of the absolute and let go of our thoughts.’ (Sitting Under The Bodhi Tree)

Typing out the first paragraph, I thought that this way of behaving is what small children do – but that is really just a less nuanced version of what we do for the rest of our lives.


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