There are those who want to change the world by asking others to change, and those who want to change the world by looking inside themselves. These two standpoints are mutually exclusive. If we look at other people too much, we can’t see ourselves. This is what this very important precept tells us: don’t criticize, don’t admire yourself.

Master Dôgen made this comment:

In the sangha, we all practice the same thing. Everyone has already passed through illusions, everyone has illusions yet to pass through, everyone practices the same thing. Even if the degree of awakening is not the same, the practice is the same for everyone. We are all halfway through.

Looking at other people stops us from looking at ourselves. Looking at the others often stops the others from looking at themselves. Looking at ourselves helps other people to look at themselves.

It is by looking inwards, by getting closer to our Buddha dimension, closer to the original mind, that we can see the true aspect of everything clearly, in us and in other people. It is not by looking at other people. When we look at other people, what we see is only our own errors. Looking at other people through our ego is a total mistake, it is needless criticism. Only with the heart can we see clearly. So please, stop setting yourself up as a judge.

Only with the heart can we see clearly – with an open heart, of course. Recently, a politician said: 60 million out of 60 million inhabitants are public prosecutors, people who accuse. It is the scourge of the age.

Turning our look inwards, this is what we learn as soon as we enter the Buddha Way, as soon as we pass the door of the monastery. This is what Master Eno used to say: “I don’t look inside others, I look inside myself.” As long as you keep looking through your ego, nothing of what you see is right. Master Deshimaru used to say: “If you keep your tinted spectacles on, you will see the world through the colour of your spectacles.” Psychologists call this to project what we are onto the other people.

Don’t forget that our practice consists of being demanding with ourselves and compassionate with the others; the two go hand in hand.

To turn the look inwards is not unpleasant. It is to see the bars of our prison vanish, to see the flowers of our heart bloom, to see the eternal now.

Taiun JP Faure, Octobre 2021

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