I’ve searched in temples and books, listened to podcasts, watched videos, searched Google, even asked Siri, and still I have found no answer. And aren’t all the churches and temples and synagogues filled with people just like me searching for answers?
Perhaps some of you believe you’re not going to those places looking for answers, but for peace and salvation. But isn’t the search for peace really looking for an answer, looking for a solution – away to find that peace? The Buddha said no one can save you except yourself. I am finding this to be more true than ever right now in my life.
I have just recently begun to start investigating the Zen practice. Zen koans are a powerful way that Masters convey the teachings. I find these especially fascinating because they typically defy traditional thinking, and the answer is not immediately clear. They cause me to think, to question, and perhaps most importantly, to drop my attachments to conventional wisdom. I am slowly learning that logic is really a delusion. One that is based on the skhandas, or sense perceptions. These are all mental and physical characteristics that contribute to the development of the self idea. One that is separate from all other life, all other things in nature.
I think that it is this perception (delusion) of separation that cause us to seek answers. There is no real peace in our heart because we feel alone, isolated. And I am coming to the conclusion that all the teachings and teachers in the World cannot eliminate this for any of us. For even as we see them as teachers, we separate ourselves as the student.
Meditation, in any form, is beneficial in so many ways. But awakening is not the result of great practice, it’s the result of letting go. No teacher or student, human or non human, no this or that. Like you, I will only see this once I understand deeply and completely that there is no you or I. This is just one more sense delusion that cause a great deal of suffering. The mind always preceding our dissatisfaction.
Part of the search for us means being with others of like mind and intention. In Buddhism, this is considered our Noble friendship. And I have seen this to be extremely helpful for my own growth, I am now seeing this as a potentially new-found impediment. Not because Noble friends are bad or a hindrance, but because this can also be a basis for attachment and separation. Separation from other religions, other people, nature, and even other schools of Buddhism. I find that I often let go of one thing, only to find myself clinging to another. Like a monkey, swinging from vine to vine, merely sans banana.
Shy of abandoning all material things and relationships, and becoming a forest monk, I have to open my eyes to some simple truths. And currently I find the truth lies far more in the questions than in the answers.