Breaking Through

I once heard a teacher in a dharma talk tell everyone “Our troubles are not the problem. Our problem is that we don’t see our Buddha-nature.”

I always like to remind people that Buddha-nature is not a ‘self’, soul or spirit. It is more like emptiness, or a spaciousness of being. What prevents us from seeing Buddha-nature is precisely the false perception of self.

IMG_3809b3This echoes something Dogen wrote in his work Bussho (“On Buddha-nature”), which according to one translation reads, “Nagarjuna said, ‘If you want to see the Buddha-nature, first you must eliminate self-egoism.'” Dogen later explains that “Seeing is in itself the elimination of self-egoism.”

It seems to me that one of Dogen’s main points throughout his core writings was to make people recognize their Buddha-nature. Then it becomes a matter of how much you can see Buddha-nature inside of you. When I first began to learn about Buddhism, I was told that meditation is the key that opens the gate to Buddha-nature.

The idea is to break the barrier between Buddha-nature and our life, to go beyond the dimension of “yourself” and see the Buddha-nature in others.

Stop your wandering,
Look penetratingly into your inherent nature,
And, concentrating your spiritual energy,
Sit in meditation
And break through.

– Bassui (1327-1387)


2 Comments for “Breaking Through”


Stole the poem in this morning’s post but gave you and Bassui credit. Loved the post.




You can’t steal something that’s in the public domain. Now, if it were one of my original poems, that would be a different matter. You’d owe me $5.98. (I don’t charge much for poetry) Enjoyed your post, too. You can read it here, folks.

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