Are Zen teachers awakened?

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DNS
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by DNS »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:46 am I think most zen teachers are awakened
Otherwise they’d miss breakfast every morning.
:lol:

Coffee helps too, in moderation - middle way, makes the mind alert, increases concentration (again, in moderation) and "awakens" you.

:coffee:
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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'Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, only enlightened activities' ~ Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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clyde wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:17 pm“seeing one’s true nature”
The problem starts at the very definition of such a term. Most seem to skip that problem by delegating the definition to the realm of the mystical and relying on a mythical lineage of transmission of the ineffable, thus all authority on deciding whether one has "seen the nature" lies with whoever is nominated as a representative of that lineage. This is actually what seem to be the common solution to avoid doctrinal debates and instead get bogged down in arguments over lineage. So even in this thread what one can see are laments over the sorry state of the transmission (although that sentiment itself is over a thousand years old - see e.g. Fayan's Ten Guidelines for Zen Schools). But it is not true that Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien) has no clear position on what the true nature is, it's just that dramatic stories and hidden transmissions are easier to comprehend. And since as long as one does not know what the Buddha taught, it is not possible to decide whether what a teacher says is true or not.

'Without an understanding of the Dharma, there is no way a practitioner can tell if a teacher is genuine or false.'
(Sheng-yen, in Zen wisdom, p 27)

So, do all Zen teachers have realised the nature of mind? There is no guarantee for that. The only thing one can do is to see if what they teach matches the Buddha's words or not.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by jake »

clyde wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:57 am I believe the phrase, “seeing one’s true nature” is a familiar English translation of the Japanese term “kensho”.
In case it is helpful for others, the Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism proffers the following definition:
Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism wrote: jianxing. (J. kenshō; K. ky ŏnsŏng 見性). In Chinese, “see one’s nature”; an
expression used in the CHAN school to refer to the recognition of one’s innate
buddha-nature (FOXING), often through sudden awakening (DUNWU). This
recognition of the fact that one is inherently a buddha constitutes enlightenment
(BODHI) in some Chan sy stems. In two-tiered models of the MĀRGA followed
in some Chan schools (see DUNWU JIANXIU), this initial insight into one’s true
nature is called the “understanding–awakening” (JIEWU) and is functionally
equivalent to the path of vision (DARŚANAMĀRGA) in ABHIDHARMA path
sy stems; it is not, however, sufficient in itself to generate the complete, perfect
enlightenment of buddhahood (ANUTTARASAMYAKSAṂBODHI). See also
KANHUA CHAN.Source, pg963
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Here's a definition from the Historical Dictionary of Chan Buddhism by Youru Wang (p 138):

JIANXING. A Chan term and an important notion in Chan teachings. Literally, it means "seeing (one's authentic) nature." This teaching was a Chinese appropriation of Indian Mahayana tathagatagarbha (Buddha-nature) thought. The tathagatagarbha tradition teaches that every human being has Buddha-nature within. This Buddha-nature is the inner cause and condition of enlightenment. Some texts of this tradition also teach that this Buddha-nature is the foundation of the world.
In Chinese Chan tradition, for example, in the Platform Sutra Buddha-nature is equivalent to the self-nature (zixing) in the sense that Buddha-nature cannot be objectified and realized outside each person. Seeing or realizing the Buddha-nature is the existential transformation of personhood, being able to understand and appreciate what constitutes a person - elements of impermanence and non-abiding - and then acting accordingly. Jianxing is therefore another term for enlightenment. The English translation of xing here as "nature" is somewhat misleading. The Buddha-nature or self-nature in the above-mentioned Chan soteriological context is not a changeless essence deeply rooted in the human mind for one to discover; rather, it refers to the changeability, transformation, and growth of personhood. Jianxing thus requires the accomplishment of action, the practical-behavioral carrying out of non-attachment.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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I am not sure that is the whole of it.

Chinul, from Buswell's Mojuga's Secrets of Cultivating the Mind:
Question: If you say that the buddha-nature exists in the body right now,
then, since it is in the body, it is not separate from us ordinary persons. So
why can we not see now this buddha-nature? Please explain this further so
that we may understand.

Chinul: It is in your body, but you do not see it. Ultimately, what is that
thing that during the twelve time-periods of the day knows hunger and
thirst, cold and heat, anger and joy? Now, this physical body is a construct
of four physical conditions: earth, water, fire, and wind. Since this matter is
passive and insentient, how can it see, hear, sense, and know? That which is
able to see, hear, sense, and know is perforce your buddha-nature. For this
reason, Linji [Yixuan 臨濟義玄] (d. 867) said, “The four great elements do not
know how to expound dharma or listen to dharma. Empty space does not
know how to expound dharma or listen to dharma. It is only that formless
thing right before your eyes, clearly and brightly shining in isolation, that
knows how to expound dharma or listen to dharma.” This “formless thing”
is the dharma-seal of all the buddhas; it is your original mind. Since this
buddha-nature exists in your body right now, why in vain do you search for it
outside?

Astus wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:28 am Jianxing thus requires the accomplishment of action, the practical-behavioral carrying out of non-attachment.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Matt J wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:21 pmI am not sure that is the whole of it.
The body is made of the four elements, the mind of the six consciousness and the four mental aggregates. Seeing the nature of the mind (and body) is to recognise that it is empty, without a self. When body and mind are recognised as insubstantial, there is no grasping, and that is freedom.

'You trainees should have no doubts. It is the four elements that make up your bodies, but the four elements are without a self and the self is without a master. Therefore you should understand that this [human] body is without self and without master.
It is the five skandhas that make up the mind, but the five skandhas are without a self and without a master. Therefore you should understand that the mind is without self and without master.'

(Huangbo Xiyun in Essentials of the Transmission of Mind, in Zen Texts, BDK ed, p 19)

'If the mind grasps at dharmas, then it gets involved in external causes and conditions, which is the meaning of birth and death. If the mind does not grasp at dharmas, that is suchness.'
(Mazu Daoyi, in Sun-Face Buddha, p 67)

Zhihuang said, “What does the Sixth Patriarch take as meditation?”
Xuance said, “What our master preaches is the wondrously peaceful and perfectly quiescent: the essence and functions are suchlike, suchlike. The five skandhas are fundamentally empty, the six [types of] sensory data are nonexistent. One does not enter and come out of [samādhi], one is neither concentrated nor disturbed. Meditation is in its nature nonabiding, and the serenity of meditation transcends abiding. Meditation in its nature is birthless, and the thoughts of meditation transcend birth. The mind is like space, but it is without any thinking of space.”

(Platform Sutra, ch 8, BDK ed, p 69)

And from a modern teacher:

'True practice means “staying with forms without attachment.” It is not to avoid or deny the existence of forms, but to reduce attachment by understanding the Buddha’s teaching that everything comes and goes with certain causes and conditions. In other words, with the insight that “penetrates the emptiness of the five aggregates in the profound practice of perfect wisdom,” we put aside attachment and see our existence as empty, the objects of our sense organs as empty, and whatever happens as empty. That is “staying with forms without attachment.” What a free and happy life it is!'
(Knocking Gently on the Door of Chan by Guo Ru, p 65-66)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Astus wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:43 am The problem starts at the very definition of such a term. Most seem to skip that problem by delegating the definition to the realm of the mystical and relying on a mythical lineage of transmission of the ineffable, thus all authority on deciding whether one has "seen the nature" lies with whoever is nominated as a representative of that lineage.
It is not bruh. You just haven’t experienced a state of that peaceful light, clear, empty. How can you want anything more that that? That’s the closest thing to the gate and one can hit the final destination at anytime. People on the forum to be honest with you are stuck with too much learning and interpreting. It’s a big trap. Not only on this forum but in East Asia Buddhism (Vietnam). Basically they are just repeating the same crap to others and others take it in think about it, and you have a lot of people are in the same hole. This collective karma is very bad for everyone. It’s no secret that people ask for texts, read more learn more, can’t blame them but that’s not the way. Sure, you might take rebirth as a teacher with all the material and advice you provide on this forum because those are seeds you generate with them. It’s not working bruh. Sorry it’s hurtful to most but it’s the same cycle. It’s not hard to see that people play around at subtlety because I still do it. Anyway it’s just my opinion might be sweeping.

The forum is like a ship if not everyone is on board it’s sinking everyone.

It’s not mystical lineage it comes from people who came before us and know how things work but the issue is I see it as gold, people see it as trash. It really goes beyond all traditions because we are all capable of making changes at macro level for sentient beings but in order to do that we must hit the final destination. It’s what meant by ‘going to the market.’
This is actually what seem to be the common solution to avoid doctrinal debates and instead get bogged down in arguments over lineage. So even in this thread what one can see are laments over the sorry state of the transmission (although that sentiment itself is over a thousand years old - see e.g. Fayan's Ten Guidelines for Zen Schools). But it is not true that Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien) has no clear position on what the true nature is, it's just that dramatic stories and hidden transmissions are easier to comprehend. And since as long as one does not know what the Buddha taught, it is not possible to decide whether what a teacher says is true or not.
Let’s say you hit final destination samadhi of great emptiness. Now what? How do you help people? This is the very issue.

I will not disclose my teacher‘s name. No, he is not mystical and not my imagination.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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If we are that different, then why we have so similar experiences. Why do I keep talking about Avalokitesvara and her one particular vow because it’s not mystical. People experience help from her don’t talk about it. Next time when people are about to hit a ditch with their car, call her name. Or if they don’t feel safe, call her name. For the longest time, I was puzzled why don’t we have more charity and help people more, it turns out Buddhists help people on a more macro level.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Astus wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:43 am
clyde wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:17 pm“seeing one’s true nature”
The problem starts at the very definition of such a term. Most seem to skip that problem by delegating the definition to the realm of the mystical and relying on a mythical lineage of transmission of the ineffable, thus all authority on deciding whether one has "seen the nature" lies with whoever is nominated as a representative of that lineage. This is actually what seem to be the common solution to avoid doctrinal debates and instead get bogged down in arguments over lineage. So even in this thread what one can see are laments over the sorry state of the transmission (although that sentiment itself is over a thousand years old - see e.g. Fayan's Ten Guidelines for Zen Schools). But it is not true that Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien) has no clear position on what the true nature is, it's just that dramatic stories and hidden transmissions are easier to comprehend. And since as long as one does not know what the Buddha taught, it is not possible to decide whether what a teacher says is true or not.

'Without an understanding of the Dharma, there is no way a practitioner can tell if a teacher is genuine or false.'
(Sheng-yen, in Zen wisdom, p 27)

So, do all Zen teachers have realised the nature of mind? There is no guarantee for that. The only thing one can do is to see if what they teach matches the Buddha's words or not.
How synchronistic that “definitions” should arise here as I recently began reading The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine and read this last night:
Hence buddhas of the past and future teach mind to mind without bothering about definitions.
And thank you for the quote from Sheng-yen. Here is a fuller quote:
Of course, this presupposes that the person making the judgment has some understanding of correct Dharma. Without an understanding of the Dharma, there is no way a practitioner can tell if a teacher is genuine or false.
If I understand Sheng-yen correctly, one doesn’t need to awakened nor be an expert in the teachings to know who is or isn’t a genuine teacher, but have “some understanding”.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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clyde wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:06 pmHow synchronistic that “definitions” should arise here as I recently began reading The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine and read this last night:
Hence buddhas of the past and future teach mind to mind without bothering about definitions.
Actually, that passage reads: 'Future buddhas and past buddhas transmit the mind by mind not relying on written words.' (「前佛後佛以心傳心。不立文字。」(CBETA 2020.Q1, T48, no. 2009, p. 373b13-14)). And then of course the text (written word) goes on to talk of (define) what mind is.
If I understand Sheng-yen correctly, one doesn’t need to awakened nor be an expert in the teachings to know who is or isn’t a genuine teacher, but have “some understanding”.
The point is that the teaching must conform to what the Buddha taught, that is what makes it valid.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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For the longest time we criticize Tibetan powerment (?), but it’s fking real. It’s the entry itself. But we just want shit the hard way! And beat ourselves up for nothing. :lol:
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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clyde wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:06 pm How synchronistic that “definitions” should arise here as I recently began reading The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine and read this last night:
Hence buddhas of the past and future teach mind to mind without bothering about definitions.
As I am far from an Awakened Buddha I bother very much with definitions.
Vimalakirtinirdesa (Kumarajiva's translation) wrote:"Letters all have the mark of liberation. Why is that? Liberation is not inside, not outside, nor in between the two. Letters are also not inside, not outside, nor in between the two. For that reason, Sariputra, liberation is taught without leaving behind letters. Why is that? Because all dharmas have the mark of liberation." (trans. Takagi + Dreitlein, 2011 pp81)
Kukai, The Meanings of Sound, Letter, and Reality (Sho-ji-jisso gi) wrote: Ordinary beings are foolish and ignorant and do not know how to awaken themselves. The Tathagata gives them adhisthana to show them the way back. If the way back is not rooted in the Tathagata's excellent teachings, it will be useless. The Tathagata's excellent teachings cannot arise without sounds and letters. When sounds and letters are precise and clear, reality manifests (Takagi + Dreitlein, 2011 pg 82)
Last edited by jake on Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: sooooo many typos! :-/
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Astus wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:32 pm Actually, that passage reads: 'Future buddhas and past buddhas transmit the mind by mind not relying on written words.' (「前佛後佛以心傳心。不立文字。」(CBETA 2020.Q1, T48, no. 2009, p. 373b13-14)). And then of course the text (written word) goes on to talk of (define) what mind is.
Makes for good google translate poetry:


"Before and after the Buddha passed the heart with the heart. No writing."
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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LastLegend wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:53 pmIt is not bruh. You just haven’t experienced a state of that peaceful light, clear, empty.
Making assumptions based on your ignorance again?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Grigoris wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:12 pm
LastLegend wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:53 pmIt is not bruh. You just haven’t experienced a state of that peaceful light, clear, empty.
Making assumptions based on your ignorance again?
You think it’s easy to see this state. Let me tell ya people spending a lifetime of practice to get here especially in East Asian Vietnamese Buddhist community.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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You guys (Tibetan) have the best direct introduction in the world, but that’s where things end for me. I can’t do mantra I can’t do koan hell I can’t even sit in meditation. I am just a lazy fck.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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LastLegend wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:29 pmYou think it’s easy to see this state. Let me tell ya people spending a lifetime of practice to get here especially in East Asian Vietnamese Buddhist community.
Have you experienced this state? How can you judge if other's have based on an internet discussion?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Grigoris wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:02 pm
LastLegend wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:29 pmYou think it’s easy to see this state. Let me tell ya people spending a lifetime of practice to get here especially in East Asian Vietnamese Buddhist community.
Have you experienced this state? How can you judge if other's have based on an internet discussion?
So if I am wrong? Have I experienced it? Who dares to say ‘yes’ on the forum? But I can tell you it’s very little fine thoughts. I know I am not final.

Even my teacher (a living breathing human being) never said ‘I’ve realized this’ or whatever.
Last edited by LastLegend on Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Make personal vows.

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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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About Zen teachers “seeing one’s true nature”, tonight, as I continued to read Bodhidharma’s “The Bloodstream Sermon” in The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine, I came to this passage:
If you don’t understand by yourself, you’ll have to find a teacher to get to the bottom of life and death. But unless he sees his nature, such a person isn’t a teacher.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”
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