Looking Not Thinking
Although this way home to who you really are is contemporary and unusual – whoever heard before of pointing your finger at your no-face
? - yet its message is traditional. It’s the same truth as all the great mystics celebrate. It’s a truth that is truly amazing, truly staggering: Right where you are, nearer to you than your breathing, abides Spirit, Awareness, Buddha-Nature, God, the Divine Light, the One…
Not just one ray of the Divine Light, not just one slice of the One, lives here, right at your very heart, but the whole of the Light, the whole of the One!
All you have to do to find this treasure is turn your attention round and look within – look back at yourself. Nearer to you than any thing
is this divine no-thing
. As the ancient Indian scripture, the Katha Unpanishad
“God made the senses turn outwards: man therefore looks outwards, not into himself. Now and again a daring soul, desiring immortality, has looked back and found himself.
He is the imperishable among things that perish. Life of all life, He, though one, satisfies every man's desire. He that dare discover Him within, knows peace; what other dare know peace?”
What I am doing, therefore, when I point my finger at where others see my face, is directing my attention inwards to this “life of all life”, to this imperishable heart of my being. I’m not THINKING about the heart of my being but LOOKING into it – and LOOKING OUT of it. This is what Zen Buddhism calls seeing your Original Face
. The Zen koan
or riddle of the Original Face
goes: “What does your Original Face look like, the face you had before your parents were born?” Figure out the answer to that and you are enlightened, they say. Well, the face you see in the mirror is the one your parents gave you, so that’s definitely not
your Original Face. That’s your Acquired Face! But the No-Face you see this side of your mirror is unborn and undying, is what you’ve always been, is what you are looking out of now and forever… There’s your Original Face – or rather, HERE it is.
Congratulations! You are seeing who you really are!
There are many koans
in Zen Buddhism, designed to awaken you to who you really are. But as Daito Kokushi
“Not one of the 1700 koans
of Zen has any other purpose than to make us see our Original Face.”
Now you can so easily see your Original Face!
Since I’m thinking about the Zen masters, here are a few words from Hakuin
who was a great eighteenth century Japanese spiritual teacher:
"You will see right before you, in the place where you stand, the True Face of the Lotus, and at once your body and mind will drop off."
The lotus is a beautiful flower, and its roots are in mud. It symbolizes the union of the pure and the impure, the source and the products of the source, your clear No-face or Original Face and what is appearing in your No-face – which is the world. Clear space here for the opaque world there, and no dividing line between the ‘two’.
Here’s Hakuin again:
"When I looked at all things, it was as though I were seeing my own face. For the first time I understood the meaning of the saying, ‘The Tathagata [someone who is enlightened] sees the Buddha-nature within his eye.’"
This looking into and out of this clear No-Face, this Single Eye - that is undivided from the world - has been going on forever!
Warm regards from the True Face of the Lotus!
(But known to my friends as Richard…)
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