The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step


Don’t focus on it

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If, as in a dream, you see a light brighter than the sun, your remaining attachments will suddenly come to an end and the nature of reality will be revealed. Such an occurrence serves as the basis for enlightenment. But this is something only you know. You can’t explain it to others.

Or if, while you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying in a quiet grove, you see a light, regardless of whether it’s bright or dim, don’t tell others and don’t focus on it. It’s the light of your own nature.

Of if, while you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying in the stillness and darkness of night, everything appears as though in daylight, don’t be startled. It’s your own mind about to reveal itself.

Or if, while you’re dreaming at night, you see the moon and stars in all their clarity, it means the workings of your mind are about to end. But don’t tell others.

– Bodhidharma

from the book “The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma”

Gems of Wisdom – Zen Tradition

Mere appearance

In a dream there’s nothing substantial but there is the mere appearance of something substantial. Thus, its true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence. Its true nature is not something we can describe with these kinds of terms, because it is beyond any type of thing we might be able to think up about it. And so, just like a flower that appears in a dream, all phenomena that appear, wherever they appear, are the same. They all appear in terms of being a mere appearance. There is nothing substantial to them, and their true nature transcends both existence and nonexistence and any other idea. All phenomena that appear to us in this life are exactly the same.

– Khenpo Tsultrim Rinpoche

In Dreamland

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 Our schoolmaster used to take a nap every afternoon,” related a disciple of Soyen Shaku. “We children asked him why he did it and he told us: ‘I go to dreamland to meet the old sages just as Confucius did.’ When Confucius slept, he would dream of ancient sages and later tell his followers about them.

“It was extremely hot one day so some of us took a nap. Our schoolmaster scolded us. ‘We went to dreamland to meet the ancient sages the same as Confucius did,’ we explained. ‘What was the message from those sages?’ our schoolmaster demanded. One of us replied: ‘We went to dreamland and met the sages and asked them if our schoolmaster came there every afternoon, but they said they had never seen any such fellow.’”

Zen Flesh Zen Bones

No One has ever Moved

Jackson Peterson

Feb 21, 2018

In a dream at night, when “you” went from this place to another place, was there any actual movement of your dreamed identity across an actual expanse of space or distance? Did your dream character actually travel across a distance within the dreaming brain?

In neuro-science it has been proven that what we experience with the five senses is a neural movie occurring within the brain. It’s the brain’s representation of what it thinks is “out there”.

Eyes can’t see “out there” and ears can’t hear what’s out there. All the five senses are passive receptors of stimulations; but the stimulations are electro-chemical in nature, not experienced colors, shapes and sounds. The brain processes those electro-chemical stimulations and turns them into colors, shapes and sounds as our sensory experiences. The world we experience is always only a brain generated, virtual representation. We never experience what’s actually “out there”.

Just like our dreaming subconscious generates an imaginary self, who stars in our dreams as a dreamt “me”; the self as a “me” that we feel we are in daily life, is also just a virtual “me” that is generated by the brain, just like the virtual, inner movie world it lives in.

It’s this virtual “me” that seems to “move around” in its virtual world that it thinks is the actual world “out there”. There is no actual self other than the imaginary and virtual one generated in the brain.

That being logically and scientifically clear, can one then say they ever really “moved” from one city to another? Their traveling is only within changing images within a brain, by a brain generated self-image doing the traveling.

We can say “our actual physical body” traveled from New York to Paris, but our actual experience is confined 100% to being the brain’s inner virtual movie world and its inner, brain generated virtual tourist, felt as a real “me”.

It can become shockingly clear that although it seems a body traveled from one place to another, the observing “me” as the brain generated spectator, only saw the progressively changing scenery of inner brain generated movies.

And the spectator was also just a part of the inner movie whose thoughts, feelings, perceptions and actions were just part of the conditioned scripting built from memory and electro-chemical stimulations of the five senses.

The “me” has no more autonomy than the virtual trees that appear to view as the brain generates all those “tree” images.

It’s this same brain generated “me” that is programmed to feel that it can make choices, think, become enlightened, and commit actions.

When actions turn out to be troubling in result, the brain programs the self or “me” to feel regret or shame or a need to make amends, according to pre-programmed conditioning such as “morals” and “acceptable” social behaviors, for example.

There is no inner “true self” that can know and do. Just like there is no true self in a dream at night. ALL the activities of the dreamed self while sleeping, are 100% programmed by subconscious conditioning; and this is also true of the daytime self.

The “me” is just the current brain software constructed, self being projected. The characters in an old video, being watched on tv now, have no free-will to alter the script. Likewise our “me” or personal self, has no freedom to act outside of its brain generated script. You see there is no self at all other than the self generated from the neural activity of the brain. How can such an imaginary self ever “move”?

But beyond the imagined, brain generated “me”, impersonal pure awareness can’t be framed or understood by a non-existent ”me”; it’s not in the brain’s programming capacities.

Not Real

Dec 7, 2017

Nagarjuna-232There is no reality in a dream but nevertheless

we believe in the reality of the things seen in a dream.

After waking up, we recognize the falsity of the dream

and we smile at ourselves.

In the same way, persons deep in the sleep of the fetter

cling to the things that do not exist;

but when they have found the Path, at the moment of Enlightenment,

they understand that there is no reality, and laugh at themselves.


Moreover, by the power of sleep,

dreamers see something there where there is nothing.

In the same way, by the power of the sleep of ignorance,

a person believes in the existence of all kinds of things that do not exist:

‘me’ and ‘mine’, male and female, and so on.


In a dream, we enjoy ourselves

although there is nothing enjoyable there;

we are irritated, although there is nothing irritating there;

we are frightened, although there is nothing to be afraid of there.


In the same way, beings of the threefold world,

in the sleep of ignorance,

are irritated although there is nothing irritating,

enjoy themselves although there is nothing enjoyable,

and become frightened, although there is nothing frightening.

—Nagarjuna, Mahaprajñaparamitopadesa, Ch. XI