Zen Teaching About Suffering
There is poem from Zen Master Seung Sahn that points to a Zen teaching about suffering:
Your true self is always shining and free.
Human beings make something and enter the ocean of suffering.
Only without thinking can you return to your true self.
The high mountain is always blue, white clouds coming and going.
Your true self is always shining and free. Our true self is our original enlightened nature. It is always with us in every moment, even in the darkest moments in our lives. The problem is that we rarely notice it. Human beings make something and enter the ocean of suffering. What is it we are making? We start by making and feeding our ego. This strong attachment to ego is what divides the entire world into opposites. We make us and them, good and bad, like and dislike, right and wrong; it is endless. This dualistic thinking creates a filter in which we view the world. There is nothing wrong with having a view, but when we attach to this view and think only our view is correct, we create suffering for ourselves and those around us.
Only without thinking can you return to your true self. When we let go of right and wrong, like and dislike, good and bad, us and them, then what is left? What is underneath our strong views, beliefs, and opinions? How is it right now when we see ourselves and this world before our idea and concept about it? Zen practice leads us to the experience before thinking. We are not getting rid of our thinking; we are cutting the attachment to it so we can perceive this moment clearly.
The high mountain is always blue, white clouds coming and going. This is where we can see our true selves. We can perceive the truth of the world just as it is, without adding judgments, dividing labels, and imparting discrimination. It is our natural state of clarity and strength. No one can give it to us, and no one can ever take it away. It can shine to your family, your friends, your co-workers, your city, your state, your country, this entire world. This is not about religion, spirituality, or philosophy, or even Zen. It is about how to be a human being. Understanding our original human nature and responding to the world with love and compassion.
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