Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finding Buddha Nature

Writing Lines
Mixed media on paper & matte board
8"x8" matted in black, image dimensions 3.75"x4.5"
$25 includes shipping in North America

Did you ever have to write lines when you were in school?  You know, things like I will not stick chewing gum on the bottom of the desk or whatever it was they made us write.  I can't remember the why's or the what's, only that occasionally this was something required.  In this little collage the lines being written are "I have Buddha nature" and of course the date is always "today".  I guess they wanted us to write lines so we would remember?  And what could be more important to remember than "I have Buddha nature." 

And what is Buddha nature anyway?  Let me give this a shot without referring to texts and definitions.  I think it refers to our "basic goodness", the fact that within each one of us we have all we need to become enlightened, our suffering, our wisdom, our faith.  No matter how "bad" someone seems (think Hitler, kids!) it is believed that we all have Buddha nature and that it is our confusion and greed and hatred that get in the way and cover up our "Buddha Nature", our potential to be "Buddhas".  We don't have to be different than we are or better than we are, we just have to uncover our "Buddha nature."
If we always remembered that we have Buddha nature it would deal with a lot of what ails us, I think.  Would we dislike ourselves and be so self critical if we always remembered we had Buddha nature?  Would we doubt our actions and second guess ourselves so much if we knew our choices came from our Buddha nature?  Would we find others superior to ourselves or feel defensive about their comments or sideways glances if we were sure of our Buddha nature?   Would we be so easily discouraged if we believed whole heartedly in our Buddha nature.  Would we look for distraction so often if we were conscious of our Buddha nature?

So maybe we should each buy ourselves one of these lovely little "practice books" and write a 100 times every day, "I have Buddha nature."  Do you think it would help?  Do you think it would sink in to that blood and bones level?  Do you think we would wake up with those words on our lips?  Do you think it would become a deep part of us that required no thought, like breathing?

And what would we learn about ourselves if we committed to write "I have Buddha nature" 100 times each day for the rest of our lives.  Would we meet our resistance and cynical self?  Would we meet our friends Sloth and Torpor in a back alley?  Would doubt and second guessing drop in for tea?

I wonder.   Are you up for writing lines?  No?  Does it seem silly and school teacherish or sniff slightly of new agey-ness?   How will you discover your Buddha nature?  Perhaps an essay " What I did to discover my Buddha nature on my summer holidays."   Sounds hopelessly boring?  Now I am counting on you to discover your Buddha nature.  Think of it as an experiment  (as is most of this life).  No test tubes or bunson burners required.  Class dismissed.


  1. I am always inspired and moved when I read your blog. As you said in your previous post, we have a choice. Remembering that is the hardest.

  2. hi carole
    always love your blogs...and the talk about sloth and torpor alot...maybe you could comment on them sometime..i find them interesting words but not really sure of what you mean by them.

  3. Hello to you both

    Yes, remembering .... it is the constant back and forth of forgetting and remembering and then reorienting.

    I love the words sloth & torpor, as you've noticed! Basically it's that human inclination toward laziness, inertia and inaction. It's what we all do sometimes. And our work of course is always to see it and try to counter it when we can. It's the not getting around to it, it's the laying on the couch when we feel bummed out ... and it's many other incarnations.

  4. tonight was a bit of sloth and torpor for myself. skipped evening meditation, put down the dharma book, and just hung out in the exhausted feeling from the day.

    your hundred times a day writing practice reminds me of a practice my old teacher gave us during a practice period. basically, it was to do a full bow everyday to each of the female ancestors in our lineage. there are 46 listed. i think maybe i will do this tonight before bed.