Diamond Sutra, chapter 29

Buddha continued:

“Studying this sutra and explaining it to others generates enormous merit.”

“Subhuti, how can one explain this Sutra to others without holding in mind arbitrary conception of forms or spiritual truths? It can only be done by keeping the mind tranquil and free from attachment to appearances.”

“This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this world:”

“Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a cloud,
Or a flickering flame, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream.”

“This is how you should see all of existence.”

In the end, the Buddha tells us not to be attached to existence. I am reminded of a very similar quote by Zen Master Ikkyu: ‘Like vanishing dew,a passing apparition or the sudden flash of lightning — already gone –thus should one regard one’s self.’

Our self, our identity as independent beings, is hard to let go of. It’s something we have our whole lives. It is the source of all egotism and greed. We think of ourselves as separate from the world around us. But that’s not how anything in the world works. We didn’t come into the world. We came out of it. We are one with everything.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.

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