In my post: Principles Against Some Common Fallacies...

1. Buddhism only values 'self-awareness' insofar as it cultivates humility and compassion.

The point here is that 'self-awareness' is not, in Buddhism, a goal in itself. Buddhism is not about developing the self and certainly not about 'finding one's true self'. According to Buddhism there is no true self. A person is a congerie of evolving conditions. Nor is it possible to completely take control of this assemblage. Regarding most of the factors involved one can readily say "That is not me, not mine, not myself." As Thich Nhat Hanh says, "The self is made of non-self elements" and non=self elements are not under one's control. It is the fact of living in a world in which one encounters what Dogen call the "Dharmas that are other than self" that (a) makes it interesting and (b) means that the way that we relate to others is important. However, this does not mean that we are all 'one' either except in the extremely abstract sense that it is always possible linguistically to lump any assemblage of bit and pieces together and call it a 'whole'.

There is no self to be aware of. What one can be aware of is the flow of states, processes and conditions. This yields the sense that one is continually finding out about oneself, but it is not a constant thing that one is finding out about since it is like a stream always changing. Awareness of this flow and change can bring a sense of humility. One can realise that the self-perfection project is doomed. One can get some sense of one's fragility and vulnerability, one's liability to be mistaken, frightened, full of yearning or grief and so on depending all upon conditions over which one has only slight control. This development of humility is Dharmic and important. One of the reasons that it is important is that it is the ground of compassion. If it is like this for me then it is probably like this for everybody else as well. This realisation of how it is for others yields compassion.

Since this humility and this compassion depend upon conditions - in this case the condition of seeing our own human nature - they are not going to be constant. When we see it they may arise. When we do not see it they don't. That is human too. Buddha taught impermanence. This impermanence is not comfortable, but it is real. The truth impresses upon us intermittently, but this can be enough to wake up up.

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Akshobhya Buddha by R. Althouse

Posted by Robert Joshin Althouse on August 3, 2020 at 13:59 0 Comments

A Vajrayana practitioner who uses this Buddha as the focus of his nundro practice commissioned me to paint this Buddha. This Buddha belongs to the Vajra Buddha family and is located in the east. There is a nice story about this Buddha. A monk who wanted to practice in the Eastern lands of delight, vowed to not let anger or rancor take up residence in his heart. With great determination he finally was able to not harbor any ill will towards any beings and in so doing achieved…

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