Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.
Ryokan returned and caught him. "You have come a long way...
THE 'ME' AND THE FREEDOM FROM IT
When a street man thinks and says: -"I am here and this is mine." And another street man also thinks and says: -"I am here too, and this is mine." Then they start fighting each other with words or with their fists and feet or with some other kind of weapons to obtain what they wanted. These are the activities of the "me". They might not realize this.
When an educated man thinks and says: -"It's me. This is my philosophy and it is the excellent solution for the serious problems we now have. It is the best. No other philosophy can compare to it." And another educated man thinks and says the similar things. Then they disagree about their opponent's philosophy and start fighting each other with words and some supporting powers from each side. They might fight each other to death. These are the activities of the "me", they both might not realize this.
When a leader of a religion or a man of that religion thinks and says: -"I am a follower of this path. This is my faith and this is my God. My God is the best and the Supreme One, no other God can compare to him." And another leader or a man of another religion thinks and says the similar things. Then they start fighting against each other for their own faith with words about the different methods they practice or the supernatural states they have achieved, and/or with some supporting powers behind their backs. These are the activities of the "me". They might not realize this.
All of these are the walls that have divided the human beings as a whole. When this "me" exists, there is no love or compassion at all, even when it seems that they show their love, their compassion to a "lower" person. In short, the "me" is the thoughts themselves, the one sided views, the experiences, the past, the known, the greed, the desire, the anger, the hatred, the arrogance, the superior or inferior feeling to others...
If one would like to be in the Land of Truth, he should learn and understand completely of himself which is the "me". He needs to identify his own "me" first. This means he must recognize it, examines it, traces it, and face it in all of its activities. When this is done, he is beyond it. This is called self-knowledge or "the freedom from the "me". This is the first and last step to the True Freedom.
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