One day a young Buddhist on his journey home, came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?
The teacher ponders for a moment, looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.
Often in my practice I feel very much like the young Buddhist in this story. The other side of the river of course being enlightenment and awakening. I read, I write, I meditate, but still the river seems so wide and I’m not sure how to get across.
But what if I am already on the other side?
One day, many months ago, Bhante Sanyatha said something to me that reverberates with me today. He said “why are you trying so hard to learn more, you have all the knowledge you need already”.
I know that by this statement he did not mean I am a Buddhist scholar. I think he was merely pointing out what the Monk in the story is pointing out to the young man on the other side of the river.
I am certainly guilty of getting caught up in the dhamma (teachings), the pali words, the inspirational quotes. And I think that sometimes this may actually cause me to miss the point. What’s the point you ask?
I think the point is to be fully present right now.
It’s like wondering about what happens after we die. That’s not only a complete waste of time, but completely irrelevant. I don’t know, I don’t care.
The more we let go, the more we become liberated. Present, complete, and awake. We become Buddha’s.
I am reminded here of a Zen saying, ” If you see the Buddha in the road, kill him”.
Meaning, if you have a concept in the mind of a Buddha outside yourself, kill it, let it go.
Truth can be tested and tried in one’s own experience. Buddhism teaches clear thinking, self-control, and mental cultivation. There is nothing external to seek. No river to cross.
Be present, be fulfilled, and be happy.
Be well, happy and peaceful.