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Awakening, Enlightenment, and Nirvana

The three words awakening, enlightenment and nirvana are composites. A composite is a bunch of stuff gathered together, rolling, rounding, and becoming slippery and slick (nodding to Taiun Elliston-Roshi).

This trinity of terms flash meaning of the Zen experience, as to how it comes about, unfolds and possibly supersedes the impact of samsara– the relative life bound by a sense of dis-ease or suffering Dukkha. Buddhist teaching offers laws of impermanence, non-self (psychological ego), and Dukkha as the interplay of conditions called life.

I will look at Awakening, Enlightenment, and Nirvana as awareness, insight, and way of life Awakening and Enlightenment in Buddhism on the Path to Nirvana

The metaphor of awakening implies sleep referred to as ignorance. Awakening from and to, seems a common sense of linear thought, however the experience is holistic. An event similar to clouds fracturing and rays of piercing light is sometimes used to dramatize the unfolding. Master Dogen:

In the Genjo Koan: "When the dharma does not yet completely fill your body-mind, you think that it is already sufficient. When the dharma fills your body-mind, you think that something is missing."

So being aware is fostered by practice realization (Dogen). In zazen, comings and goings shift from duality to process– insight of interconnectivity. This “inter-are” is seeing into (enlightenment) of trudging the path of the Middle Way. Katagiri-roshi taught that the merging of me and others, relinquishing the me-other, in the total working of the moment is enlightenment. (Receiving the Marrow, Frances Carny, p. 101).

The Eightfold Path is meant to purify the mind and body, remove the hindrances that afflict them and sharpen the intelligence so that one can see and understand the phenomena with greater insight. The practice of Right View, Right Intentions, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration on the Eightfold Path leads to the development of that wisdom. With that, one finally awakens to the truths of existence and enters the state of Nirvana. Awakening and Enlightenment in Buddhism on the Path to Nirvana

If we spin the three teachings (pointings) very fast, there is no disctintion it (Buddha Nature) is just so… inmo.

Please join us Tuesday night July 5, 2022, in person at the First Congregational Church in Falmouth or visa Zoom password FSZS.

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