We have roots in two worlds, it can’t be avoided. The world of appearances and the world of things as they are deep down, of how things work deep down: ultimate reality. There is a very famous saying that goes: don’t be fooled by appearances, go further.
The Buddha had accepted and ordained a convict in his community, a criminal who had been chained up for several decades. This infuriated a lot of close disciples: “How could you accept such a person? Have you seen how he behaves, how he speaks?” Buddha had replied: “But his heart is pure. If he has the gait of a convict, it’s because he had to walk with chains a long time. But now, he is free, his heart is pure.”
Don’t carry erroneous views with you, selfish strategies, unjustified accusations. Access a free mind. Don’t stop at appearances, at the words that define them, at the thoughts that go with them, at the strategies that you set up. Give it all up. If you harbour grudges, if you feel contempt, fear, in the end your mind goes dark and you get sick. It’s important to meet reality with an open mind, a mind cleansed of all defilements.
If you want to fit in with reality as it is, you must become the a human being as it is, a mind empty of any idea of self and mine, of any idea of being superior to the others, of being independent of the others, of doing what he wants without taking the others into account. As you are, you are Buddha, liberated of all superstitions, but above all, of ignorance.
Reality is impermanent and interdependent. If you ignore this, you are living in error, in suffering. Don’t remain at the level of appearances, go down in the depths of your own being, where your consciousness is totally pure. See for yourself how you produce illusions, how you produce your own suffering by relying on erroneous visions. Everything communicates with everything. There is not just one reason, there are an infinite number of reasons, causes and conditions. So study, investigate phenomena accurately as they are, as they appear. Zen masters say: study existence with acuity and understand its non-existence.
Before coming to zazen, someone told me: “I apologize, I can’t come to zazen because I have to dismantle an engine.” It’s easier to dismantle engine than to dismantle one’s mind, to deconstruct one’s illusions. Yet, it’s absolutely necessary nowadays. It’s a fashionable word: to deconstruct. To deconstruct the old human being, to push our blinkers aside, to see reality in its complexity, and above all, in its dynamism: not frozen, but on the go, in its impermanence. It’s very difficult, it’s very important.
Each of you must do this. Nobody can do it in your place, nobody can breathe out in your place, nobody can defecate in your place. At every moment, we must come back to a new mind, to a new world, free of defilement.
Taiun JP Faure, October 2022