Our real self is behind the facade

1 Oct 2023 12:16 PM | Genpo Roshi (Administrator)


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I'm more and more convinced that we all know what we put up is a façade, a false self, one that gives people what we hope for, to see us in the light that we want to be seen. So we are dishonest in that way if we try to hide just who we are. Whatever it is, the moment we're trying to hide that, the moment we're not honest and direct, the moment we're not truthful, where we are and who we are, we're already putting up this façade. And kind of like the Wizard of Oz, we have to look behind the façade. And there is the real self, the genuine self. It's not that far away. It's just behind this veil or façade of a self.  

There's no self back there. There's just no self back there. So whenever we have a self or I'm this, or I'm that, or this is what I want, this is what I don't like, all that is coming from I, I, I, I, I, self, self, self, self, self. The moment we return to our original — whatever we call it, no self, mind, mind only — the moment we return to that and drop the façade, we're free. And when we're free, we're free to be ourself. I mean, it's not like it's gone. We still have a self, like Buddha said, we still have a self, but it's not the true self. It's just a false self.

And we have that. And we're not going to become like Huang-po or something.  If we have no self everything is just extra, extra, extra. So we do bring up a self. That's part of the practice. That's the fourth, fifth stage. We have to have a self and we have to have some kind of image, but it doesn't have to be a façade. It can be honest. It can be truthful. It can be direct.

And we don't lose anything. But we're afraid that people are going to see us. We're afraid that we're going to be revealed. We're going to be seen. Like, oh my God, they're going to see I’m this or that. We all see it! The only one that doesn't see it is oneself. Because we don't have a mirror. And the teacher is that mirror. We just don't have a mirror. So the role of the teacher is to reflect that, to let us see what's behind, what's there first, and then there's something behind that is indescribable and unknowable and ungraspable. But it's there.

That's what we call the true self, which is no self. It's not a self.  It's that which is behind the self.

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