Mountains and Rivers: This is a regular practice at SokukoJi where Sokuzan responds to questions related to practice and study. This is from a session where the questions were about the sense of a solid, continuous reference point:
Student:….“I can see how the eyes (reference point) always switch….you can be a completely different person… but it seems that there are just a couple of reference points within me that have never changed as far as I can remember….”
Sokuzan: “…See, that’s awareness. Now let me ask you–first though best thought– what’s aware of that?”
Student: (long pause) “I have no idea.”
Sokuzan: “Ahhhh…….bingo. No idea. So the reference point is only seen. That which sees cannot be seen. No self. No self in the skandhas. No self in the forms, no self anywhere, there’s no self. So what is this?
Self centeredness doesn’t want to make the leap into nowhere. So that very thing that you said when I asked “what’s aware of that” and you said “I have no idea”…that’s usually bonded to an idea of a self. But when you start to step away and look at the reference points like you just did and I asked who sees that…and it’s like “I don’t know who sees that”….you can’t actually go and get that, you can only be that. Once you be that, that means, you could say, you basically trust yourself. You trust everything that comes out of your mouth. You trust everything that comes out of everyone else’s mouth. That’s why I say there’s nothing to correct. There’s just suffering, that’s what the Buddha said, the First Noble Truth: Life is suffering…and it is. Intensely.