Seeing absolute equality and appreciating the differences

In the beginning of our practice we may have a glimpse of absolute equality.  Dai-kensho is when we truly realize that there is nothing to realize.  This is the true realization of absolute equality, that there’s no one higher or below us, and we’re not greater or lesser than anybody else.  That’s very important, because otherwise we keep elevating others and making others into some kind of god-like creature, guru, teacher or master or whatever, and we feel inferior.  We feel somehow we’re lacking something.

So absolute equality is when we see the humanness of all beings, no higher, no lower.  But then we get stuck in no higher no lower, and we have to come back and appreciate the vertical, that parent is parent, child is child, teacher is teacher, student is student, and so on.  Seeing that, we don’t have to elevate ourself or put ourself above anybody, but we certainly do not have to put ourself below or under anybody either.

And then we can love and appreciate the differences.  So when you’re in relationship with someone, or everyone, you can appreciate we’re all uniquely different, and appreciate both the absolute equality and also love the differences.  It is both.  It is absolute equality — nobody is greater than anybody else — I don’t care how great their practice is, or how many years they spent in a cave, or went on and did all this teaching, myself included.  There’s nobody greater or lesser.  But we do appreciate the wisdom that comes from spending six years in a cave, or decades of practice.

We can appreciate the difference, but we don’t have to make someone superior, or make ourself inferior, or vice versa.  You know, I’ve told this story before:  back in 2016, I was walking in Long Beach along the bluff, which I did every day, and the Tibetan monks were right in front of me.  They always walked past our house, every morning between 6:30 and 7:00.  I just happened to be walking right behind these three old monks, and I’m thinking, “Wow, these guys are the real deal.  They’re authentic monks.  I’m a phony.  I’m in my street clothes, I’m listening to my music in my ear buds; they’re walking mindfully and doing it appropriately.”  Then I thought, “Why can’t I just appreciate that they’re the real deal and I’m just a complete fake?”

And that was such a revelation for me!  Yes, they’re the real deal; I’m just me.  I don’t need to be them, and I don’t need to feel inferior, nor superior.  Because normally I would say, “Yeah, but they’re all stuck in their traditional robes, in their this and that.”  No, they’re the real deal, true monks.  That’s fine.  It was such a revelation, a relief just to realize that.

5 thoughts on “Seeing absolute equality and appreciating the differences”

  1. What music were you listening to? Also here’s where I’m at today.
    Seeing things as they are and being ok with it. Seeing things as they are and not being ok with it. Not seeing things as they are and being ok with it. Not seeing things as they are and not being ok with it.
    Just an update on me, hope you are well.

  2. I taught meditation in prison and experienced the Big Mind pointing out Great Equanimity beyond any preferences and most intimate.From a DVD in a noisy prison library with Roshi thousands of miles away and the hazy moon of enlightenment appeared above the wall and I no longer felt like I was fraud. I knew was helping these prison wall gazers to understand that the wall looks the same from the other side. And feeling like a fraud is usually a check on one’s self and then the dharma eye opens suddenly and you are at a Leonard Cohen show watching a man who still makes me feel fraudulent because I want to live in the tower of song and come down to sing about it to prisoners who now understand the power they possess turning hard iron bars into gold.

    I only need to turn my gaze inward and look at who’s in need of love. I can give it just like Genpo gave it to me and I am free to love him right back. Love isn’t money but its not for sale either the paramita of generosity only meet me at the apex and a Buddha is born. Karma keeps me in line at least. I have never been banged up more than by my desire to be at my teacher’s side. But I know my heart and mind are indestructible and not separate from my old American teacher.

    I am firmly a blood relative of my crybaby lineage brothers and sisters. I cried when I gazed at the wall only to hit it and I cried when you did too. And I cried because you came back to teach us and I’ll cry when I see you all again. Florida is calling sangha members who want to help me build a chapel out of my barn. A zendo and art studio. Help me establish our new way here. I’ll show you the Kerouac places and biker haunts and we won’t be monks or frauds, only friends building the lineage stronger around our patriarch.


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