After several days, I felt somehow that the line was leading me somewhere. I felt that the line was like the runway lights in an airport, or the floor-lights in a plane that lead you to safety. I sensed a pulsating series of lights going towards the point. I said to my friend that it felt like something out of a science fiction movie. Like there was something at that point, but I didn’t know what.
After a couple days of this meditation experience, all of a sudden the mothership scene from Close Encounters of Third Kind came to me, I heard the duet of musical notes between the humans and the mothership, and then all of a sudden the music went wild and there was a flash of light before me. I saw the “alien” come down the gangplank, infinitely loving, gentle, and vulnerable. And I knew right then that that “alien” was in fact the image of my unborn Buddha mind, like the child in my mother’s womb. I was drawn to it by a strong inner force. I felt like it was calling me home.
I sat and sat, oblivious to legs having fallen asleep. I did not want to leave that space; I did not want my meditation to end. I voiced “hello” to that image, and said “I’m coming home.” I know this sounds more than a bit far out, but it was a very powerful, cathartic meditative experience.
Zen Master Bankai (1622-1693) taught of the unborn Buddha mind that each of us has when we are born. He taught that we are all enlightened because we are born enlightened and we never loose our true Buddha mind. What happens is that we turn our mind to thought and thought takes us into the realm of samsara where we become a fighting spirit. Put in another context, we leave the mythical Garden of Eden because we eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and so are drawn into a world of conflict, insecurity, and suffering. To return to it, Bankei taught that we just need to confirm ourselves in our unborn Buddha mind, to live in the unborn.
When I read these passages of Bankai’s teaching after this recent meditative experience, I realized something in what he was saying that I didn’t catch before. There is no duality between the Buddha mind and the ego. They are both one. Just as in all things … like birth and death, gain and loss … they are points on a continuum. Just as there is no self and other, there is no Buddha self and ego self. All is one.
For years in my writing, I have referred to the process of freeing ourselves from our thoughts as surrendering our ego to our true Buddha nature, and then more recently, turning our will and our life over to the care of our true Buddha nature. But I know now that that wording is not quite right. It appears to create a dichotomy between the Buddha mind and the ego.
And so, it is more accurate to say that we let go these feelings and perceptions, the five skandhas, that cause us suffering and return home to our unborn Buddha mind. We do not engage these feelings and perceptions knowing that they are not us, they are not ours, they are not ourselves, because ourselves would not cause us such suffering. But we have compassion for them and allow them to subside while turning our attention back to our true Buddha nature, returning home.
Unfortunately I cannot go back and rewrite what I have written in my posts and in my books in this regard. It’s not that I see a real difference in the process now; regardless of the wording, it always involves letting go of our attachment to the five skandhas. It’s just that the wording I have used for years makes the process seem more difficult. Makes it seem like a momentous task. Whereas it really isn’t. It is a “simple” matter of letting go what we know is not our true self and returning home to our true Buddha nature.