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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
66 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 5 creates suffering and seeing it as our salvation, or looking at what is impermanent and seeing it as everlasting. It is looking at something that is funda- mentally without self-existence and infusing a self into it. When we see into the dream, we realize that the world is empty, like vast space. We can hear the dharma and imagine that the perfection the teachings point to is our conventional sense of perfection. But “perfect” in our ordinary sense means managed, domesticated reality, every- thing lining up the way we think it should. Even if what we want is good—no wars, no injustice, no poverty—that’s not what is meant, within the dharma, by perfect. Even those terrible kinds of suffering are not outside of Tao. In order to under- stand our experience, we have to understand its basic nature—its fundamental truth, before the first sign appears. Ordinary mind is Tao. To understand ordinary mind, we have to understand Tao. To understand Tao, we must go beyond all knowing. Nan-chuan is saying that if you want to understand Tao, look to your ordinary mind—they’re not different—but look with unconditioned eyes. When the mind is filled with emotion, we sell our soul to that emotion, to that view. We not only believe that the feeling is true but also that the feel- ing is me. In other words, we become lost. How do we find ourselves? In that moment of being lost and confused, don’t despise and don’t value. If we’re in the grips of despair, then we don’t give weight to that despair, but neither do we take it lightly. We usually react by trying to manage and control our experience—if we’re in pain, then we avoid that pain. We think the way to resolve the problem is to have it disappear, to stop it. But that’s not what the dharma is teaching. If we want to walk the path, we will need to develop the courage to open to the raw truth of this present moment, free of judgment, and not move away. Then, from that place of equanim- ity, come closer. Let your eyes and ears—the whole body—be clear and sharp. Don’t turn away. Going beyond subject and object, realize that this very moment is not as it seems, nor is it otherwise. It’s not fixed and it’s not nonexistent.