Waves Do Not Have To Seek To Become Water

What I’m reading: Peaceful Action, Open Heart: Lessons from the Lotus Sutra by Tich Naht Hanh

Thich Naht Hanh makes it clear that we all have the potential to become Buddhas. We all have within us the seeds of enlightenment, the ability to be awake and present.

… Do you need o become a Buddha? Do you need to run after enlightenment? The wave does not have to seek to become water… she is water, right here and now. In the same way, you are already nirvana, you are already a Bddha; you are already what you want to become. What is essential is to enter the path of practice in order to realize this truth and help others realize it too. (Peaceful Action… p. 118)

I find when I sit with that, when, after settling my mind by consciously breathing in and breathing out, and deeply contemplate the notion that you and I are enlightened beings in the same way a wave is part of water, I’m thrilled. The idea that you and I have within us the seeds of perfection is exciting and a little bit scary.

The fear, I suspect, is that I can’t possibly live up to such a thing. I’m so prone to see anything but perfection in myself and in others.

On the other hand, a while back I had a realization that I have no evidence procedure for perfection – at least not for myself, or you, or what I do. I see perfection in my cat, the trees and flowers and the stars. But when it comes to me, I wouldn’t recognize perfection if it knocked on the door and introduced itself.

If Thich Naht Hanh is right, and something in me suspects he is, my job then is not to worry about perfection but to practice getting quiet and considering this. That’s all.

What do you think? How does this feel to you?

Live well,

Anne Wayman

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