Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Awakenings AND Gradual Integration

     The late Robert Aitken's awakening "wasn't a big-bang experience ... but it began a process of widening insight that ultimately made him a wise, compassionate, skillful, and upright teacher. Unfortunately, a big-bang realization doesn't ensure such a result.
     ... a characteristic absolutely central to Aitken Roshi's nature and to his teaching and writing: his emphasis on the precepts and on living out the Dharma in all its ethical dimensions. This is the contribution to Western Buddhism for which he surely was best known and will be best remembered."              Nelson Foster & Jack Shoemaker

     "Living out the Dharma in all its ethical dimensions" seems the surest prerequisite to awakenings that, through a lifetime's continuous work, lead to thorough transformation - as we progressively approximate BEING the teaching. An awakening experience may precede and instigate living an ethical life (one of the Zen patriarchs had been a murderer).
     Either way, behavior reflects one's level of attainment. But Anais Nis is also likely correct:
“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Photo: Tim A2

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