What Is Buddhism?
It is awakening.
Buddhism starts with awareness and ends with awareness. We start with awareness of being unhappy and dissatisfied: we are, in fact, suffering. This suffering ends when awareness itself has been realised: this is direct, spontaneous awareness, when we wake up from the dream of suffering.
So, what is the problem, and what is the cause of suffering?
It is misplaced awareness that has been directed to something other than awareness – a me, or an idea of me. When we identify with an image, a personality, we limit awareness to a small portion of the universe – ‘me’ and ‘mine’. A dream image.
So, what do we do?
Just be aware of the effects of the idea of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ in this concocted dream. Gradually, we see the suffering that this identification causes, and thus these fixated ideas gradually drop away and we wake up! Awareness does this through the practice of meditation, to realise awareness itself, which is pure awareness. Awareness is self-aware!
Will I wake up?
As long as this ‘I’ – this ‘me’ – wants to wake up, we will remain suffering and struggling. Awareness is already awake: it always has been. ‘We’ just interfere by assuming we do not know. We know. Awareness is knowingness. We have always known, but are constantly distracted.
The process is to be compassionate to this ‘me’. This mistaken view cannot help itself as, in order to survive, it is governed by ignorance, desire and fear. It is always trying to protect itself, as this little ‘me’ has become habitually trapped in its limited universe. Of course, everyone around us is in the very same dilemma.
We all act like dream walkers,
off with the fairies,
when, in truth, we are sky dancers.*
*sky or space indicates śūnyatā, the insubstantiality of all phenomena, which is at the same time, the pure potential for all possible manifestations.