Friday, September 19, 2008

Gautama: Who am I?

More than 2500 years have passed since Gautama asked himself this same question, and it took him, the future Buddha, a few years to find the answer to this simple but essential question.

Today, all of us, at some point in our lives, put this same question to ourselves, and consciously or unconsciously we find an answer, and that answer affects our whole lives.

Usually, we ask ourselves this essential question more than once during our lifetime, and the answer is different each time, because we go through changes and experience different things during our life.

The problem is that very often, our answer to this crucial question is relatively superficial, and therefore, our perception of the world is very superficial as well.

Gautama did take his time to find the RIGHT answer to this question. He spent many years learning yoga with different masters, and because of his DILIGENCE and INNATE WISDOM,he found out the FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS, which are his answer to this question.

He found out that living a confused life is SUFFERING.

He also found out that this SUFFERING has a CAUSE: not knowing who we really are.

He also discovered that this SUFFERING CAN COME TO AN END.

And finally, he showed the way to put an end to suffering: the NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH.

Unless we take seriously this essential question, we won´t find the right answer and our mind will keep turning around the axle of IGNORANCE, in the wheel of confused life.

The Zen method starts aknowledging that the most important thing you can do with your life is to find the RIGHT ANSWER to this question, and the first step is to DOUBT about the validity of ALL your present CONVICTIONS, or FIXED BELIEVES. Usually, our convictions CONVICT us.

This first step is the KEY SUCCESS FACTOR of the whole ZEN process.

All this convictions are ONLY ASSUMPTIONS we make in order to diminish our anxiety and create a safe view of the world, but they are not CERTAINTIES. In ZEN we look for CERTAINTIES, not convictions or assumptions. We don´t care if it takes a short or a long time to find the RIGHT answer. We don´t copy other people´s answers, not even the Four Noble Truths. Gautama found out CERTAINTIES, but if we take his certainties and BELIEVE in them, that will not help us: we will only replace our CONVICTIONS with another set of convictions.

So, please, if you want to practice true Zen, don´t BELIEVE: just FIND OUT for yourself the RIGHT ANSWER, which is ALWAYS A CERTAINTY, your certainty.

You can say: but in the past I already did that, and later on I found out that I was not right, that my answer was not the right answer.

And I will tell you: No, my friend, you didn´t do that. Your level of INSIGHT was not deep enough, because you did not generate the GREAT DOUBT, and consequently, your answer was just another BELIEF or CONVICTION, based on your own past experiences, prejudices and expectations, but not a CERTAINTY resulting from SEEING.

The difference between a FANATIC and a WISE man is that the fanatic has only CONVICTIONS, and in order to protect himself of anxiety does not listen to others and tries to CONVERT everybody to his DOGMAS in order to protect his illusory world. On the other hand, the wise man has CERTAINTIES, and he tries to help everybody, BUT DOES NOT WANT TO CONVERT anybody, and is not scared to be among people who hold different opinions.

Zen is not for the parrot-like people, or for the cowards, but for the ones willing to face his WALL, with all the selfish habits that usually contrive them into the world of suffering.

Zen is not for the "saints", "respectful pretenders" and "dummies", but for the warriors, willing to face his own ignorance and vices and find out who they really are.

This is not a path for everybody. It is not the only path, or the best path, but if you REALLY get into it, and practice it CORRECTLY, it will lead you to wake up the PATRIARCH within yourself, to SEE your real face.

So, my friend, WHO ARE YOU?

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