Q. Should Buddhists be self-absorbed people who care about their own enlightenment more than awareness of life in external reality?
A. You seem to think that those who want to attain enlightenment should care about awareness of life in external reality much less than the people who are not concerned about enlightenment and that Zen practice is one thing and life in external reality is another.
Zen practice and enlightenment cannot be separate from the awareness of life in external reality because Zen practice is a sort of effort to have the right awareness of life in external reality. To have the right awareness of it, or to realise the essence of the life in external reality is referred to as enlightenment. So, if someone ignores or neglects the awareness of life in external reality in order to practise Zen meditation or get enlightened, he is not practising in the right way. Ancient masters said that everything is the gate to enlightenment. You should know that it is impossible to attain enlightenment without awareness of life in external reality.
Student: “What is enlightenment?”
Master: “It is to see your wife as she is.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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