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Alan Watts

Awakening is to know what reality is not. It is to cease identifying oneself with any object of knowledge whatsoever. Just as every assertion about the basic substance or energy of reality must be meaningless, any assertion as to what “I am” at the very roots of my being must also be the height of folly. Delusion is the false metaphysical premise at the root of common sense; it is the average man’s unconscious ontology and epistemology, his tacit assumption that he is a “something.” The assumption that “I am nothing” would, of course, be equally wrong since something and nothing, being and non-being, are related concepts, and belong equally to the “known".

Heart is only another name for the Self. Doubts arise only when you identify it with something tangible and physical. The Heart is not a concept nor an object for meditation, but is the seat of meditation – it is the Self and stands alone. A baby has for a long time been part of its mother and has floated in the ocean of the womb. So it has the sense from the beginning of what is really to an enlightened person totally obvious—that the universe is one single organism.

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.

It has become extremely plausible that this trip between the maternity ward and the crematorium is what there is to life. And the more that i look at things, I can not get rid of the feeling that existence is quite weird. When you consider man as a little germ that lives on an unimportant rock ball that revolves around about an insignificant star on the outer edges on one of the small galaxies. God what a put down that was. But on the other hand if you think about it for a few minutes, I am absolutely amazed to discover myself on this rock ball, rotating around this spherical fire. It’s a very odd situation.

It is said that to be enlightened we must live in the eternal. Now, that infinitely small and therefore infinitely great point of time is called the present moment. The Universe exists only in that moment, and it is said that the wise man moves with it, clinging neither to the past nor to the future, making his mind like the mirror that reflects everything instantly as it comes before it, yet making no effort to retain the reflection when the object is removed. “The perfect man,” says Chuang-tzu, “employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing; it refuses nothing. It receives, but does not keep".

No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

Popularly, Amitabha is somebody else. He is some great compassionate being who looks after you. Esoterically, Amitabha is your own nature; Amitabha is your real self, the inmost boundless light that is the root and ground of your own consciousness (Buddha-nature).

You don’t need to do anything to be that. You are that, and saying Nembutsu (Namu-Amida-Butsu) is simply a symbolical way of pointing out that you don’t have to become this, because you are it.

The feeling of self is no longer confined to the inside of the skin. Instead, my individual being seems to grow out from the rest of the universe like a hair from a head or a limb from a body, so that my center is also the center of the whole. I find that in ordinary consciousness I am habitually trying to ring myself off from this totality, that I am perpetually on the defensive. But what am I trying to protect?

The task of a liberated person is not to scold the world and preach to it but to delight it back to its senses.

There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.

Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.

Time is a social institution and not a physical reality. There is no such thing as time in the natural world.

You are like a dewdrop, on a multidimensional spider's web in the morning. And if you look at that thing carefully, you will see that in every dewdrop the reflections of all the other dewdrops. So the way that dewdrop looks goes with the way all the other ones look, you see.

You never know when [enlightenment] may happen. But one day, the I will disappear into the heart during your waking state, and you will see your omnipresence with your spiritual eye. You will feel a joy, a happiness, that's beyond understanding. You will be free.

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