Just Me

Sometimes I read back over my blog entries and think, “Why me? Who do I think I am? Who am I to profess to know about Zen?”

I know, at the very outset, I made a disclaimer. I am a beginner. But on some days, the tone of my writing seems to take on a sense of authority, as if I have some special insight, or knowledge of this practice. As if I were attempting to teach something to you.

Really, what I am doing, is trying to figure things out for myself by means of my most effective thinking tool — putting words down on the page.

In a lecture on Buddhism by Prof. David Eckel of Boston University, he tells a story about a talk he heard by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama went off on a fairly extensive, complicated explanation of Buddhist philosophy. But at the end, with a little grin, he said, “And who is it that is telling you this? Just me.”

“Just me” when said by the Dalai Lama has some hint of irony, of course, since he is probably the most well-known Buddhist figure in the world today. But his message was meant for all of us. Buddhism is about “no self.” There is no permanent thing that is you or me, only a series of moments. And so, given that, there is no ultimate font of wisdom, no source of answers. It might just as well have been you, or me, standing at the podium that day, talking about Buddhism, suffering, and emptiness.

So I guess the more pertinent question is: Why not me?

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