"Selflessness is not a case of something that existed in the past becoming nonexistent. Rather, this sort of 'self' is something that never did exist. What is needed is to identify as nonexistent something that always was nonexistent."

-Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Last night, after returning home from the zendo, I decided to go sit outside for a few minutes.  Since I quit smoking (again, but it's going well this time) I haven't had occasion to do so much lately.  We had an absolutely beautiful sliver of a moon, rolled over on its back with its points facing upwards, as if it could have held all the visible stars in it like a bowl.  It was lovely.

And then it dawned on me.  Not some over-dramatic thunderclap.  No touching the ground before me as a witness.  More like "Oh.  Yeah.  Duh."

Now, two my two Facebook friends, I mean this:

On one hand, you do do everything on your own terms.  You are the one making the decisions.  You are the one either leading, following or getting out of the way.  On the surface, that appears completely true.


To quote Warren Zevon:
Don Quixote had his windmills
Ponce de Leon took his cruise
Took Sinbad seven voyages
To see that it was all a ruse...
Once again, Warren-daiosho spells it out.  Well, at least for me.

This idea of "me", "mine" "you", "us", "them", etc, etc, blah... where does it come from?  And by that, I mean where?  Obviously, it's at times a handy construct.  It keeps me from waking up in YOUR bed next to YOUR partner, or driving off in THEIR car, going to THEIR parent's house for dinner, and so on.  But honestly, this idea that any person is inherently different from anybody else really very quickly falls apart upon close inspection.  I mean seriously, it is just a very fragile idea full of gaping holes that you can walk straight through without even turning sideways or stooping down.

The Buddha called the senses that we have to investigate with--as well as all things to be investigated--skhandas, or "aggregates".  You can look at them as piles (in Sanskrit, the word literally translates into "pile", "heap" or "bunch") of things made up of other things.  So, when you get right down to it, that's everything there is.  In truth, all things are of dependent origination; that is, everything is dependent upon something else to bring it into existence.  Even the Big Bang is--many now theorize--a result of another event (the ekpyrotic scenario of two branes touching).  So this idea that there is a "base-level" of "stuff" that exists and cannot be reduced either in size or in linear time is false.  It is convenient, but it is false.  So even the things that are used to investigate reality with are inherently flawed, because they too are of composite build.  This is of course addressed in the Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra.
...form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form. Sensations, perceptions, formations, and consciousness are also like this....
Even our senses, our thoughts, our very consciousness is empty.
Therefore, given emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of sight… no realm of mind consciousness. There is neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance… neither old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death; no suffering, no cause, no cessation, no path; no knowledge and no attainment.
 Nothing to attain.  No one to attain it.  The fear that selflessness is some ego-destruction and transcendence is in itself flawed thinking.

You do not do zen on your own terms.  Zen is zen, irrespective of "you", because there is no "you" to bring anything to it.

You are not "killing" the self.  That's like killing a shadow.

There is just this.

It is just so.

And that's just fine...