The purpose of Buddhist training is to realize our true nature.
That is, to dissolve the levels of delusion that prevent us from seeing our true nature. These levels of delusion represent our false thinking and clinging, our preconceptions that confuse us and color our the ways we perceive everything.
“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” -Anais Nin.
Our true nature is sometimes called our Buddha nature. It is the great realization of oneness. When we can cast aside our false thinking and delusion, then we can get in touch with our true, awakened, selves.
Because we are mired in these levels of delusion we can’t simply free ourselves at will, quickly and easily (sorry).
This is why we are undergoing this path of transformation. We have to penetrate these levels of delusion and transform into our true selves.
First, we have to try to get rid of our false thinking and preconceptions. When the Buddha said, “If it halts, it is Enlightenment.” What he meant was when we stop being carried away by deluded thoughts, then we are dwelling in Enlightenment.
Bodhidharma said, “Expel all concurrent causes. Do not give rise to a single thought.”
This is also an important part of our training. Concurrent causes are the ones we are carrying with us when we come to sit in meditation. Not giving rise to thoughts means not letting them carry us away. You are not your thoughts.
Our thoughts arise and fall without changing our true nature. In fact, all things arise without changing our true nature, including our environment, the things that make up our bodies, and everything else.
We have to lay down everything when we come to meditation and just enter our true nature.
When we can lay down our preconceptions and delusions, then our reach the state where thoughts do not arise. Then, the brightness of our true self will appear.
Further efforts at training and looking deep within will be necessary, but this is what we have to do to dwell in our true nature.
Our true nature is self evident. Bodhidharma said, “directly point at man’s mind for the perception of self-nature leading to the attainment of Buddhahood.” This indicates the truth. We are all Enlightened already. Our true nature is pure and clean, in harmony with all things.
For this reason, the process of Awakening is available to all of us. We just have to cultivate virtue, concentration, and wisdom.
The Buddha and the Masters and teachers throughout history made this point again and again.
Many different methods for attaining Enlightenment were created and the reason that they are effective is because it is in our true nature to become Enlightened. These different methods are called Dharma Doors and they enable us to see through our suffering and delusion and to engage our true nature. Some paths are better for different people and that’s fine. I would not seek to divide these into superior and inferior ones.
The lineage I hold is Zen, but I think there is plenty of value in all of the Buddhist lineages. There are Pure Land Buddhists who believe in chanting. There are Theravada Buddhists who believe that renunciation is the best path. There are Vajrayana Buddhists who engage in a wide variety of practices. And there are even modern sects like Soka Gakkai who are trying to engage the Dharma in new and innovative ways.
All of these paths have some value.
I teach Zen training. This training relies on the awakened realization of our minds and the perception of our true nature. This is a deep investigation into who we really are.
Zen teaching consists of Awakening through seeing our true nature and it has been handed down since the Buddha transmitted it to Mahakasyapa who transmitted it down to Bodhidharma who took it to China. It spread throughout Asia and only came to the United States in the last century, after having a history of over 2000 years.
The truth is there is no separation between us and the world around us. All of delusions block us from seeing the true nature of reality.
Enlightenment is here right now if you want it. The mind is clear and fundamentally Enlightened.