September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
“The Pure Land is now or never.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The Pure Land is a state of mind, the awakened mind, in which all phenomena are seen to be just as they are, perfect, ephemeral mind-displays, endlessly occurring to apparent selves, locked into apparent suffering, living apparent lives.
However, make no mistake about it: perfect does not mean perfect for us. Reality is perfect, because it is.
What-is always trumps what we want. What we want is always thought-stuff. What we don’t want is always thought-stuff. This stuff is only as real as a dream. If Reality is a cinderblock wall, our desires and aversions are feathers, whisked away by a hot, summer wind or snowflakes being blown into an iron furnace.
What we wish for, our ceaseless cravings, never squares with reality. But reality wins, hands down, every time. And herein lays the crux of our suffering: We want, quite simply, what is not. We want what does not exist. We want a state of affairs that is an illusion.
And there is, only ever, what is, and this what-is doesn’t give a damn for our petty preferences and demands. It is eternal, irrevocable, and unyielding. Our work is to meet it where it is and surrender our selves, letting go
My first Zen teacher, Joko Beck put it so well:
Most of our difficulties, our hopes, and our worries are empty fantasies. Nothing has ever existed except this moment. That’s all there is. That’s all we are. Yet most human beings spend 50 to 90 percent or more of their time in their imagination, living in fantasy. We think about what has happened to us, what might have happened, how we feel about it, how we should be different, how others should be different, how it’s all a shame, and on and on; it’s all fantasy, all imagination. Memory is imagination. Every memory that we stick to devastates our life.