Happy new year 2019!
Who will transcend the notion of self
and the world of birth and death?
Who will investigate the pure Dhamma Path
with as much care as
an expert garland maker selects their flowers?
Dhammapada verse 44.
The emptiness of self.
We build a life and an identity on a base without substance and because of that we suffer. Self always suffers, it is inevitable, and so the less self identity there is the less suffering there is. Simple, but not easy as not only do we like 'self' we also like our suffering, because it supports our delusion that 'self' is real and permanent. It is true that ‘self' is real, it is just not real in the way you think and then hold on to. Do you understand? The equations in Dhamma are always simple and clear. Live from love and your life becomes loving, live from fear and your life becomes fearful. Who is it that cannot understand that? This is the awakening to truth and the profound understanding that the world we experience is the world that we are creating for ourselves moment after moment. No one has power over you, they simply activate your past story and so you react. It’s subtle, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s all a delusion! ‘Self’ is a flowing river with many turns and bends, rapids and gentle areas, but nothing ever static. This is what we have to understand for the peace and harmony we seek in our ordinary life. There is nothing that you really are, no fixed way you have to be, and so we can flow and respond to different moments without getting stuck in one or another and then attempting to make the whole universe fit around it. Of course, in the conventional world of work, relationships and culture, we must play the game of life by the rules prescribed, or become monks, nuns or hermits and live away from others. In our ordinary daily life with its divisions, hierarchy and privilege we will always meet difficulties as we continually crash into the minds of other un-awakened beings, each fighting to hold on to their own 'self identity'. How can there ever be peace in such a place. So, as disciples of Dhamma we take the position of living in the world and yet not being part of the world, and so to be open to the reality that no matter how difficult things may seem, everything is the gift in front of us. To stay on our path and continue to advance we only need to stay alert to the endless demands of 'self' to be acknowledged and accepted as valid and valuable. ‘Self’ is always a liar, and will drag us down by the ankles if we allow it to. You’re fine, you’re really fine. Fighting to be better is just more ‘self’ following the old storyline that you’re not good enough and you’ll never make your parents happy. When we are free from ‘self’, we are free from the difficulties this delusion brings. No more internal fighting and struggle, but the simple flowing with life as it manifests moment after moment, responding from the heart with love, first for ourselves and then for all beings. Love begins with you, it is the protection we need from self, and that’s what self hates! Even 'self' cannot survive in the face of love. The world then is a place we visit to shop, drink coffee and work, but not more than that and when the noise is too loud we must leave. This is the way of the heart. This is the Dhamma.
May all beings be happy.
Gasan was sitting at the bedside of Tekisui three days before his teacher's passing. Tekisui had already chosen him as his successor. A temple recently had burned and Gasan was busy rebuilding the structure. Tekisui asked him: "What are you going to do when you get the temple rebuilt?" "When your sickness is over we want you to speak there," said Gasan. "Suppose I do not live until then?" "Then we will get someone else," replied Gasan. "Suppose you cannot find anyone?" continued Tekisui. Gasan answered loudly: "Don't ask such foolish questions. Just go to sleep."
The ego is without substance. The ‘self’ or ‘soul’ is without substance. Nothing was ever born and nothing will ever die, but as long as we are attached to mind and body, the delusion of self, it will always appear that way.
From: Higher Than Happiness by Michael Kewley