To Awaken

June 22, 2014 § 2 Comments

False Creek 0380 appearance

The Buddha expounded the Dharma to show humanity how to overcome bondage to appearance. He is called the Fully Awakened One because he saw life as a fabric of dream illusions upon which we have become transfixed as if in a hypnotic trance. To Awaken is to break the trance and see the thoughts of waking consciousness as no more real than the images seen in dreams when asleep.

When we awake from sleep we know our dream to have been unreal. No matter how involved we were in its seeming reality, when we wake we do not check the bedroom for the people who were chasing us in our sleep. We put the dream aside to deal with the waking world.

To Awaken is to see that our day’s thoughts are no more real than the ones we had when we slept. It is like waking up from a dream, then waking up from our day thoughts.

To the unawakened, thoughts are not only seen to be true, they are seen to be real and powerful. There is a compulsion to act when a thought arises. There is a belief in the ‘this or that’ which creates irrational fear. There is a belief in the righteousness of political ideology and religious faith. In all of this there is, as the Buddha pointed out, a bondage to appearance as we are ruled by our thoughts instead of ruling them.

The Awakened one sees thought in the same way we see our dreams. There is no urge to act, just an option to act or not act. The ‘this or that’ that formerly created fear is now seen as nothing more than a mental image without substance.  Any system of thought is seen as neither more nor less valid than any other. In seeing this, the Awakened one finds no reason to argue, no reason to fight or go to war. Having seen the reality of awareness, the Awakened one is at peace.

To be a Fully Awakened Buddha is to realize all of life is a dream illusion. The first step in this realization is to plant the seed of doubt in the accuracy of your thoughts about reality.  The first step is to see how these thoughts, this appearance, holds you in sway.  Once planted, the seed of doubt will take root and grow into a tree that will one day bear the fruit of your Awakening.

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