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The core of Buddhist practice guides us toward noticing authentic reality, using the ego's great doubt and deep insecurity to fire an intense curiosity to comprehend our True Nature. This veritable reality bears one unique feature: an absence of a fixed characteristic - it isn't boxed into predefined notions. Everything in the universe, every observable event, reflects this truthful reality. A passage from the Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra encapsulates this idea: "All dharmas are marked by emptiness; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease." This implies that the genuine reality is beyond concepts of beauty or ugliness, birth or death.

From a human perspective, however, this reality remains elusive. People today, especially those intellectually inclined, worshiping the religion of "Thinking," often strive to capture its essence in words, but it tends to retreat further the more they attempt to describe it. Their efforts often yield unsatisfactory results that fail to portray and miss the magnitude of what they're trying to express. Humans are limited to seeing the world through our human lens, just as a fish is confined to its aquatic environment. A thief perceives a world filled with thieves. A judge once told me over coffee, "I see a criminal in every person," indicating how our professions can shape our perception of the world. I replied to him... "You see crooks, and I see Buddha's. We need each other." He replied, "True. We help each other to be realistic about what we're dealing with."

I invite you to reflect on an antique dealer who has a strong appreciation for statues of the Buddha. Their initial instinct is to evaluate its monetary worth. The moment they observe a Buddha, they assign a price tag to it. This materialistic mindset is why the true essence of Buddhas has been lost.

From a Buddhist perspective, everything and everyone is Buddha. No one's trash, to be tossed aside at the first moment of so-called imperfection... damage... allegedly defective. All things, sentient or not - the grass, trees, earth, planets - are aspects of Buddha... Universal Loving Presence. Our existence, in its purest form, is Buddha.

An average person might argue that I'm not a Buddha, just an ordinary individual. This is because they view me through their own ordinary lenses. When one perceives the world through craving-colored glasses or contact lenses, they see a world flooded with objects of craving. In recovery from addiction land, we're warned... please don't allow money, power, property, status, or prestige to divert us from our primary purpose. To Love ourselves and each other fully whole and wholly free as a result of goodwill and creative action of the spirit.

The above said it is critical to grasp True Reality... what the Japanese call "Sonomama" (そのまま) the world before ego and the mind has time to make a 5D render, reconfigure and flatten it into a one-dimensional object of 'Am I going to get anything out of this or not.' However, it can be a challenging task, as our human tendencies often conflict with the stillness of Zazen. In this world, things are not as they appear, yet they're not otherwise, as stated in the Lankavatara sutra. It requires being able to experience both aspects at the same time.

Nothing exists outside these illusions. Everything, without exception, is an illusion. Perhaps it's all just karma. Someone steals something, feels fear, and flees. A law enforcement officer chases them, inspecting every passerby, wondering if they're the thief. Consequently, the individual on the run and the officer live in entirely different realities. This is why understanding is so complex. To comprehend the real reality is to experience the entire universe in a single glance, by declining the ego's constant invitation to see through its lens and perspective.

Drop it! Let it stay on the floor for 42 seconds. Once we do this, we begin to understand the teachings of the Buddha... the Universal Identity of Loving Presence. It is precious... priceless... wholesome... and cannot be exhausted. If we want to awaken... notice... Reality as Reality... half-assed practice won't get it done. It requires intentionality and dedication to dissolve... perhaps combust ego's endless well of insecurity.

一May Universal Loving Presence Prevail

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