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“The point arrives, then, when it is clearly understood that all one’s intentional acts – desires, ideals, stratagems – are in vain. In the whole universe, within and without, there is nothing whereon to lay any hold, and no one to lay any hold on anything. This has been discovered through clear awareness of everything that seemed to offer a solution or to constitute a reliable reality, through the intuitive wisdom called prajna, which sees into the relational character of everything. With the ‘eye of prajna’ the human situation is seen for what it is – a quenching of thirst with salt water, a pursuit of goals which simply require the pursuit of other goals, a clutching of objects which the swift course of time renders as insubstantial as mist. The very one who pursues, who sees and knows and desires, the inner subject, has his existence only in relation to the ephemeral objects of his pursuit. He sees that his grasp upon the world is his strangle-hold about his own neck, the hold which is depriving him of the very life he so longs to attain. And there is no way out, no way of letting go, which he can take by effort, by a decision of the will. . . . But who is it that wants to get out?

“There comes a moment when this consciousness of the inescapable trap in which we are at once the trapper and the trapped reaches a breaking point. One might almost say that it ‘matures’ or ‘ripens,’ and suddenly there is what the Lankavatara Sutra calls a ‘turning about in the deepest seat of consciousness.’ In this moment all sense of constraint drops away and the cocoon which the silkworm spun around himself opens to let him go forth winged as a moth. The peculiar anxiety which Kierkegaard has rightly seen to lie at the very roots of the ordinary man’s soul is no longer there. Contrivances, ideals, ambitions, and self-propitiations are no longer necessary, since it is now possible to live spontaneously without trying to be spontaneous. Indeed, there is no alternative, since it is now seen that there never was any self to bring the self under its control.” –Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

“Enlightenment is . . . to snap out of the movie of life. To wake up, to shake it off. You are, and always have been, at the movies, as the Witness. But when you take life seriously—when you think the movie is real—you forget you are the pure and free Witness and you identify with a little self—the ego—as if you were part of the movie you are actually watching. You identify with somebody on screen. And therefore you get frightened, and therefore you cry, and therefore you suffer altogether.

“With meditation, you begin to relax in your seat and just watch the movie of life, without judging it, avoiding it, grasping it, pushing it, or pulling it. You merely Witness it: you employ the mirror-mind, you rest in simple, clear, spontaneous, effortless, ever-present consciousness.” [Italics his.]

-Ken Wilber, One Taste

“The process of awakening looks like it’s about destroying ego, but that’s not really accurate. You never completely rid yourself of ego—the false self—as long as you’re alive, and it’s not important that you do. What matters is the emotional tethers that anchor us to the dreamstate; that hold us in place and make us feel that we’re a part of something real. We send out energetic tendrils from the nexus of ego like roots to attach ourselves to the dreamstate, and to detach from it we must sever them. The energy of an emotion is our lifeforce, and the amount of lifeforce determines the power of the emotion. Withdraw energy from an emotion and what’s left? A sterile thought. A husk. In this sense, freeing ourselves from attachment is indeed the process of awakening, but such attachments aren’t what we have, they’re what we are.”

-Jed McKenna, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment

Q: I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions?

A: The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; though this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer.

Q: I find this hard to understand. Could you please elaborate on this?

A: Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the jnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter’s wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. The prarabdha [predestined karma] which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the jnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the jnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the jnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and he knows that he is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the jnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body.

[From Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi]

The main point is that we have this basic intelligence that shines through our confusion. […] This intelligence is not like a seed which you must nurture. It is like the sun that shines through gaps in the clouds. When we allow a gap, then spontaneous, intuitive understanding of how to proceed on the path suddenly, automatically comes to us.

-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

If you use your mind to look for a Buddha, you won’t see the Buddha. As long you look for a Buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the Buddha. […] To find a Buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a Buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking Buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings and keeping precepts are all useless.

Bodhidharma, from the Bloodstream Sermon

It has somehow escaped my notice that most people function at an immeasurably inferior manner than that which is rightly theirs; beggars with a winning lottery ticket in an unchecked pocket. This isn’t really an enlightenment thing so much as a human development thing. This was discussed in Damnedest, but it can’t be overemphasized not mine, but Thy will be done; the will of Allah; Brahma is the charioteer—if you don’t get this, you don’t get anything. If this isn’t your living reality, then you are, like most people, stuck in the ego-clad, nestling state. If so, my advice is this: Observe this state. Make a study of it as it appears in yourself and others. Turn the light of your mind upon it. See it everywhere. Learn to recognize the workings and reasonings of ego. Dissect thoughts, words and actions to find the kernel of fear within. To know the lie is to hate it; to see it is to slay it. There is no nobility in spiritual poverty. If you desire release from this state, you should pray for it. If you don’t desire release from this state, you should pray for the desire. The nest isn’t life, as anyone who has taken wing will attest.

-Jed McKenna, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment

Anything you do for the sake of enlightenment takes you nearer. Anything you do without remembering enlightenment puts you off. But why complicate? Just know that you are above and beyond all things and thoughts. What you want to be, you are it already. Just keep it in mind.

-Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

You cannot condition Enlightenment. Nibbana is an unconditioned state. A liberated person will indeed be generous and benevolent, but not because he has been conditioned to be so. He will be so purely as a manifestation of his own basic nature, which is no longer inhibited by ego.

-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

My advice, then, is that you accustom yourself to remaining in a state of non-birth. Try it for thirty days, and you’ll be incapable of straying from it; you’ll live in the Buddha-mind for the rest of your life… Give your ear to me, and forget as so much rubbish all your preconceptions. Indeed, at my one word of exhortation, you can gain satori.

-Zen Master Bankei

(P.S. Bankei’s unborn is none other than the source.)