Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven: No One Wants to Die
Mar 31, 2016 03:45PM
● By Seijaku Roshi
Fundamental to the world’s great religions and spiritual traditions is the teaching which points to the Zen-Buddhist notion that, “This self I call myself is not who I really am” and that the realization of my “true self” is quintessential before anything can or will change. This realization is what Buddhist refer to as “Enlightenment”—that moment followed by consecutive moments of continually realizing and living from a place of authenticity which results in living a lifetime marked by wisdom, skillfulness and independent of our conditioning.
Everyone wants to go to Heaven, everyone wants Enlightenment, however, very few people want to do what is necessary to get there—no one wants to die. Realizing the Kingdom of Heaven within you, realizing your true self, Enlightenment, is not an achievement accomplished by just trying to be a better person or a new year’s resolution to get there, neither is it achieved by reading a few self-help books or taking an occasional meditation or yoga class. Enlightenment is a mystical, organic and ontological transformative experience which happens in the heart and awakens the entire person.
When Moses came off the mountain after his encounter with The Source he was barely recognizable, when Jesus resurrected after dying even those who lived with him for years did not at first recognize him. Enlightenment is a total transformation and can only happen in the heart which lives and learns and thrives experientially. We see the world and ourselves as we truly are only when the mind and heart have converged through this mystical conversion which takes place only when the “conditioned-self” our false self has died, making way for our “true identity” our true self to surface.
Whenever the ancient Zen Masters were asked, “What happens after Enlightenment?” they replied, “Ten thousand more hours of meditation.” Enlightenment is not an event but rather a consciousness an awareness which requires like all form of consciousness nurturing. We do not awake and never tire again. We are unlimited fields of potential limited and subject to these limited life-forms subject to thoughts and emotions and vulnerable only when we do not maintain “right mind-right heart”. Enlightenment is a seed filled with unlimited wisdom and potential. Like all seed they require a conducive environment to change, to grow, and to thrive. There is a Zen saying, “Practice is everything, everything is practice.” It’s all interconnected. All we have to do is connect it all and then keep it connected. As I often remind my students, “You are Buddha, act accordingly.”
I love you.
Seijaku Roshi is an American Zen Master, parent, priest, author, Life-Coach, keynote speaker, and visionary pioneer of the principles of "authentic spirituality". He is the founder of The Zen Society and Abbot of the Pine Wind Zen Community/Jizo-an Monastery, in Shamong, NJ.