The Nature of Life and Zen
Living in Zen is being at full acknowledgement and awareness of the present, living with the Dharma, and recognising reality as it truly is: impermanent and dualistic. The mind is the root of our sufferings due to its dualistic nature. All things in life are impermanent and transitory due to its non-self originating nature.
Changeability and dualism are the nature of life. The karmic world is a world rooted in the dualism of the mind. We see the world through our tinted color glasses. We subsequently act based on our egocentric perspective, and propagate the cycle of seed and fruit. We entangle ourselves within the endless cycle of changeability…a succession and consequence of arising and departing karmic events.
All phenomena are non-self originating. The circumstances come and go, since they are the outcome of past deeds. We, ourselves, are the product of our past and the architect of our future. We are caught in the hamster wheel of Karmic propagation and perpetuation. We are the product of our own Karma, and we create our future Karma with each choice we make along the life path.
The mind while it exists within a dualistic condition is named “mana.” Mana, the subjective mind, is also known as the ego-mind. The mind’s dualistic state stems from our interpretation and evaluation of the outer world from our personalized perspective. Because the dualistic mind is ego-based, it lacks the objective clarity, and hinders us from responding to the outer circumstances with an all embracing universal altruism.
Our subjective mind is the expression of the egocentric experiences we accumulated along our life journey. Our preferences and aversions are based on our individualized past. When we perceive the world using our subjective mind, we do not act with the universal compassion nor with our original inner light.
We continually project our own narrative onto the outer world, and form emotional attachments, placing us onto an emotional rollercoaster ride. As we impose our own likes and dislikes upon each arising event, we can no longer perceive life with objectivity and neutrality. We become propelled and bound to take action, based on the tumultuousness of passions.
We continue to perpetuate the Karmic cycle with our deliberate and inadvertent choices, as we respond to life based on the likes and dislikes, ingrained within our mind conscious. Whether intentional or unintentional, it is impossible to not affect others positively nor negatively during our interactions. The sweet and bitter life circumstance are the end result of our past doings. Each action results in a reaction and propagate the endless cycle of seed and fruit.
All life events, whether they are fortunate or unfortunate, arrive and depart in their own time, within the life’s flow. There is nothing random in life. Events only appears random or accidental to us because of our finite physical life span. Arising circumstances are rooted in the seed we sowed. The present circumstances metamorphose into the seed of future circumstances, based on choices we make, when faced with the arising outer events. The seed for our future is planted by each choice we make moment-to-moment along the life journey.
A Zen life path is an active realisations of the Karmic existence, while being at a Timeless Inner Peace. True Inner Peace can only be experienced when we recognize that all life circumstances are changeable and impermanent, then let go of our self-imposed emotional attachment.
Using our Inner light to recognize our habitual tendency to form a subjective view of the objective world is a vital step. Transcending dualism is not a matter of negation of awareness nor the annihilation of the senses. Living within a self-imposed stillness is itself a polarity to restlessness. One would still be bound to a dualistic existence.
As our viewpoint returns to objectivity and clarity, Mana, the ego-mind, returns to the Original No-Mind. The outer circumstance no longer evoke a conditional emotional response. Inwardly, we exist at at peace. We adaptively respond to outer circumstances with unclouded judgement and without emotional attachment. When we live within the Timeless Inner Peace and respond to the outer circumstances with an universal compassion we negate the cycle of karmic creation and perpetuation.
The present is the fruit of the past and the seed for our future. In the here and now, we, ourselves, are fully self-empowered to chart the course of the present moment and determine our subsequent moments
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