How do you stop suffering?

[Excerpted from a live video conference, November 22, 2020]

      . . . If there’s a koan — “How do you stop suffering?” — of course many of us can pass the koan, we just be suffering.  That’s passing it, but between that and doing it completely, it’s the difference between a kensho and dai-kensho.  You know, I sometimes feel the only thing that’s going to take care of this for many people is dai-kensho.  And I come back to our roots, which is what the great masters say.  There’s all this fiddling around with the leaves and the branches of the tree, but until we get to the root of the problem — uprooting, that is the dai-kensho, the great opening — until we do that we’re just going to keep fiddling around with the branches and the leaves.

     Sometimes it feels almost like — too much.  Because I know what it takes to have dai-kensho.  It’s a lot of the three kais, a lot of discipline, a lot of practice, a lot of devotion, a lot of samadhi, and coming through that other side.  So there’s the Hinayana approach, which is the mindfulness and so forth, but frankly it just doesn’t scratch the itch, and I can even see in teachers in that approach that the itch is still not scratched.  They’re still trying to get there.  The only thing that seems to do it is cutting that root, right at the root.  And it brings up ‘practice, practice, practice.’  How do you get to nirvana? Practice, practice, practice. . . .


2 thoughts on “How do you stop suffering?”

  1. I love the notion of the other side of Nirvana and that beginning to realize the bodhisattva way suddenly and scratches the itch — most intimate 🙂

  2. Thank you, Genpo, for those wise words. Yes, practice, practice, practice. Mindfulness is certainly useful and serves a purpose, but it’s over-done a lot. Your way makes sense in these challenging times, a basic way of getting to the root, cutting it if possible, and always practice, practice, practice.


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