One day the Buddha was asked by the naked ascetic Kassapa:
-Master Gotama, is suffering created by oneself?
The Buddha replied:
-Not so, Kassapa.
-Then, is suffering created by another?
-Not so, Kassapa.
WE ARE NEITHER TEACHER NOR STUDENT
There is no one who is student or teacher here, in this forum, Steve. We all are here to discover ourselves together.
"It is a hard habit to brake." You are right but it is not impossible to break a habit. Not only to break the old habits of ours but also to break the bondage which we call "tradition" , too, because they both do not help us to see what we need too see and to liberate ourselves.
The only way we can do that is to learn or look at or listen to ourselves. It would be easier to understand if we say the word "ourselves" or "self" in other words the "you", the "I" or the "me".
If we really look into what one of these words indicate to see what it really is, what it is made of, then we will know clearly how to deal with ourselves. And at the same time, we will see our True Mind or Primordial Mind or the Empty Mind as I have often called it. This Mind is the foundation of the All. It is by nature Quiet, Silent, Immovable but Lively...
However, if we do not know totally the structure and the activities of the "me" which is our thought, then we can not reach the Empty Mind.
There is nothing secret in Zen. If it seems it is a secret to anyone, it is because he doesn't really know what the "I" or the "me" is. About this topic, I think, I already put it in some question before but nobody paid any attention to it. Maybe you all thought that you already know it or accept it by habit.
When you really want to discover the "I" or the "me", you must put aside all of what you have learned from any other people, no exception, and what you have experienced yourself because all of those are the old things, the past, even the future which is only a projection of thought is also the past.
One cannnot see what is really new if he depends on the old.
What are the old? Thoughts are the old, experiences are the old. Philosophies and religions are the old because they have been made of thoughts. They are the dark clouds hanging over the blue sky, and most of us just see the clouds, not the blue sky.
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