Buddha Nature: Living in Attention

Opening of doors

Once I shifted my effort to paying attention to what was arising, doors started to open. I began to see a little more clearly what was going on. I’d had to let go of old ways of looking at things, some that I had learned in the course of my training, others going back much further to family patterns. The patterns became apparent. The function and purpose of the patterns also became apparent.

The next phase brought with it an unexpected pain. In Eliot’s words, “the shame of motives late revealed, and the awareness of things ill done and done to others’ harm which once you took for exercise of virtue.” Here was the insight into the true function of these patterns. They had no use for the world or for others. They were solely concerned with protecting and maintaining a particular sense of self. I began to appreciate how things were.

What then? Gone were the justifications, gone were the rationalizations, gone were the convenient explanations (and I was very good at those!) The test of practice became action. Was anything actually going to change? So it became necessary to let go, completely, of what the patterns were trying to maintain, and to learn to live another way. It was at this point that I began to appreciate the Buddha’s teachings in yet another light.The way was the way of attention. Bring the attention to what is arising and we know, directly, what needs to be done. This changed not only my own practice but how I tried to teach others. The source of that knowing is buddha nature. And the practice is very simple in principle: strip away whatever prevents it from manifesting.

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