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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ITZI Conference 2017

Blog Posts

Shinran and Ippen

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on April 16, 2018 at 8:00 0 Comments

On Saturday evening our regular study group met on Skype where we looked at and discussed material from "No Abode", a beautiful book about the life of Ippen, ancient Japanese Purland master and "The Essential Shinran" which documents the life of Shinran Shonin, one of Honen's most famous disciples. We had a very stimulating discussion which I enjoyed greatly. We will be meeting again on Saturday 19th May at 9pm British time. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to join us.…

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Buddhism Day

Posted by Andrew Ralph Cheffings on March 28, 2018 at 15:46 1 Comment

I wasn't getting as much done as I intended to or 'needed' to in my previous mode of moving between lots of different activities, so I decided to devote one day a week to a particular activity, and this week I'm doing a Buddhism day. I've finally managed to get started on Vow 22, then I did some online research and catching up with mostly Buddhist emails, then I wrote a dharma talk. I plan to do a service run-through later. It's certainly easier for me to get things done this way. Namo Amida…

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REMEMBERING SAIKO SENSEI

Posted by David Brazier on March 19, 2018 at 21:43 1 Comment

Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the death of Gisho Saiko. Sensei Saiko was the founder of Shinshu Counselling. He wrote a number of books and presented his ideas at international conferences as well as through his university and Buddhist organisations in Japan. He referred to my work in his books and when I visited Japan a few months before his death, he took on to invite me to a number of gatherings and hosted my wife and I in royal fashion. He was enthusiastic that I should play a…

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Bombu Magic.

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on March 14, 2018 at 10:31 0 Comments

''The lotus does not grow in the solid ground of lofty plateaus, but in the muddy ponds of lowland marshes. This is an analogy meaning that foolish beings, while in the mud of blind passions, put forth the blossoms of the Buddha's perfect enlightenment; This indicates the inconceivable power of the Tathagata's universal Primal Vow.''

From ''The Essential Shinran.''

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