Three States of Mind for Awakening

This is a list of three states of mind that are helpful in our study of the history and practice of the Awakening.

1)Use Faith

Not faith in the sense of blind faith in something external. This is more like confidence. In a college course we have to have faith that our teacher isn’t teaching us false things and that the class will lead to a greater understanding of whatever we are learning. This is the same. We should have confidence that we have the ability to walk this path.

2)Use Doubt

Doubt is important because we have to test the teachings for ourselves. If we take everything blindly, then our understanding and confidence will be shallow. As we doubt and question things, our conviction will grow. It is through doubt that we can learn new information.

3)Use Your Awakened Mind

The process of self transformation is a mixture of slow and fast. Slowly we study and practice the Dharma, getting a little better all the time. Then we have transformational experiences where we feel we start to gain intuitive understanding of the Dharma, then we start accumulating more information through study and practice again. Every time we have an experience of awakening we bring a little more of it back with us. The slow transformation is a process of learning and the fast process is when something stirs within us that penetrates our being and prepares us for awakening. It is this awakening mind that really helps us advance on the path. Teachers and books can help us, but real transformation needs our awakened mind.


About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg lives in Kansas City with two kids and two cats. He runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. Daniel has a BA in English from KU and he works for the federal government. Once a Novice Monk in the Rinzai Tradition, he dropped out of monk school to become a regular person. He has taken his inspiration mainly from Zen renegades and madmen like Ikkyu and Han Shan. Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows in both the Nagarjuna and Asanga lineages. He is a frequent guest teacher on Daily Dharma Gathering.

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