There is a perennial human experience of alienation, of estrangement from something essential—whether we call it God, truth, or buddha nature. It’s interesting that throughout time and history, people from so many different times and cultures have intuited the same thing. We are fundamentally separated from . . . what? And there’s also the sense of a fundamental unity, of no separation, like two palms pressed together in gassho, two arrowpoints meeting each other. It’s as though a part of us knows this unity but doesn’t understand it. We sense that it’s somehow present but we can’t see it with our everyday eyes.
At another time, a student asked the National Teacher, “How can I be in accord with buddha?” The National Teacher said, “Don’t think of good and evil, personally see buddha nature.” Don’t dwell over your thoughts and feelings about things, or attach to dualistic ideas about inside and outside. But are we supposed to strive to have no thoughts and feelings? Are thoughts and feelings inherently wrong? Nothing is inherently anything. Is it important to be able to perceive good and evil? Absolutely. Buddhism is very clear about this. Yet, in order to understand the real nature of good and evil, we have to go beyond thinking about right and wrong. To realize the body of the Buddha is not to become Shakyamuni, it’s not to reject oneself; it is to utterly be oneself. But who are you? Leaping free of your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind, directly see self nature. This is the heart of it.