I love this story, for it demonstrates how quickly we can get caught up in concepts, and delusional about where we are at. Striving to be better, at all costs, goes against the very premise of the expansion of our consciousness, the alignment to our hearts.
Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. Desiring to show his attainment of enlightenment, he stated loudly: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”
Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he hit Yamaoka with a piece of bamboo. This made the youth very angry.
“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “then where did this anger come from?”
It’s perfectly okay to not be as enlightened, or as spiritual, or as advanced as we would like. It’s okay to accept our emotions. We must stop faking it and buying into our ego even more. It’s imperative we accept who we are, where we are, and enjoy the ride for all its nuances, grievances, upsets and challenges. We just have to land FULLY where we are, and take one step at a time.