The Importance of Enlightenment

The Importance of Enlightenment 

               Transcript from a talk (Translated from Japanese)


Nothing is more important for us than “the importance of enlightenment.” This is because we ourselves are the ones who are living. What am I? What is this world in which I am living? Without truly knowing these, we are living only by our moods or thoughts.


Nothing is more foolish than not knowing truly about yourself, not knowing truly about life, and not living a true way of life, and it is a regrettable life. To grasp anew our true self and the true world, clearly and by experiencing (not with the head or intellect), is more important than all else. This is especially so in the present era in which our human society is rapidly headed toward a dead end.


Buddha became enlightened 2500 years ago. He keenly indicated that the source of all human suffering and chaos in society is ignorance, and that an absolute truth of existence is of being one and indivisible.


So, what is ignorance? Normally, we recognize, judge and think about things with our head (intellect). However, “thoughts” of our head are relative, separate things into “I” and “others,” and we mistakenly understand things as being separate existences.


Therefore, things we understand by our thoughts are only “false” things that we have interpreted in a way for our own convenience, and are not the “truth” as it is. Furthermore, the “self” we understand by “our relationship to others” through our thoughts is consequently merely the self that we have defined on our own, and is not the “true self” itself. By thoughts, we cannot grasp the true self and the absolute truth of existence of being one and indivisible.


In order to grasp the absolute truth of existence directly and not with the head, first, it is necessary to have a strong desire to attain this by experiencing, no matter what it takes. At the same time, it is vital to quiet down our thoughts of the head by proper meditation or “zazen” (sitting in silent meditation).


However, it is a fact that the wall of our thoughts is extremely thick and grasping the truth directly is very difficult. Speaking from experience, after running into a problem that cannot be solved with the head, struggling and struggling, and facing a complete dead end and desperate situation, suddenly, a consciousness beyond the head (thoughts) takes effect and you can grasp directly the absolute truth of existence of everything being one and indivisible.


The “Seminar of Life,” which I supervise, is based on this principle. So far, many participants have awakened to their true self and the true world in the short period of one week.


In any case, we must make this our top priority theme anew?

What am “I who exists” and not merely “I who lives daily life.”


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009