Buddha in the palm of your hand

Basic anxiety is taking place in your everyday life all the time. When you wake up and look around, you might think of coffee or food or taking a shower; but the minute you have had your coffee or your breakfast, you realize that the anxiety is still there. In fact, anxiety is always there, hovering and haunting you throughout your life. Even though you might be extremely successful, or so-called successful, at whatever your endeavors might be, you are always anxious about something or other. You can’t actually put your finger on it, but it is always there.

Seeing our pain as it is, is a tremendous help. Ordinarily, we are so wrapped up in it that we don’t even see it. We are swimming in oceans of ice water of anxiety, and we don’t even see that we are suffering. That is the most fundamental stupidity. Buddhists have realized that we are suffering, that anxiety is taking place. We have understood that anxiety does exist; and because of that, we also begin to realize the possibility of salvation or deliverance from that particular pain and anxiety

According to the Hinayana teachings, you have to be very practical: you are going to do something about suffering. On a very personal level, you are going to do something about it. To begin with, you could give up your scheme of what you ideally want in your life. Pleasure, enjoyment, happiness—you could give up those possibilities altogether. In turn, you could try to be kind to others, or at least stop inconveniencing others. Your existence might cause pain to somebody—you could try to stop causing that pain. As for yourself, if you find your anxiety and your desire comfortable, you could make sure that you question that perspective. In doing so, there is room for humor. As you begin to see the kind of communication that goes on between pain and pleasure, you begin to laugh. If you have too much pleasure, you can’t laugh; if you have too much pain, you can’t laugh; but when you are on the threshold of both pain and pleasure, you laugh. It is like striking a match.

You are in samsara and you actually have to realize that…you are so absorbed in it that there is no reference point. Now that we are providing a reference point, look at what you are doing. Look at where you are and what you are in the midst of. That is a very important message. It is the beginning of the best enlightened message that could ever come about. At the level of vajrayana we might talk about the nonduality of samsara and nirvana, or fundamental wakefulness, or the flash of instantaneous liberation—but whatever we might talk about is concentrated in this very, very ordinary message: you have to review where you are. It might be a somewhat depressing prospect to realize that you are so thoroughly soaked in this greasy, heavy, dark, and unpleasant thing called samsara, but that realization is tremendously helpful. That understanding alone is the source of realizing what we call buddha in the palm of your hand—the basic wakefulness already in your possession

by Chogyam Trungpa

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