In sitting meditation we gradually come to
recognize some basic questions
about our lives: “What
does it mean to be me?" "What does it mean
to be alive?" "What's this life all about?" That’s
of insidious intent... T.S.
So "huh?" is really a distillation of
all of the questions that can arise. It’s
really examining in a very penetrating sense, “What’s
going on here?” And
without asking that huge question we’re really
in the dark, we’re really driving aimlessly
without a map and with no sense of where we’re
headed or where we're coming from.
The Buddha’s “Huh?”
This was Siddhartha Gotama Shakyamuni’s experience.
After many years of meditation, rigorous asceticism
and study, Siddhartha Gotama was unable to
answer the fundamental question: "What is life-and-death
all about?" Determined to break through whatever
it was that separated him from realization
(“huh?”), he sat down under a
tree and vowed to not rise until he had either answered
this burning question or died in the attempt. Sitting
there, he focused his whole attention upon that question
and became so absorbed that
he lost track of everything else. He didn't even
think of himself or about the nature of the question.
He and the question were no longer two
different things. He had totally
become one with the question, had become the questioning
Sitting in deep meditation at dawn, he caught a
glimpse of the morning star—the
planet Venus—alone in the empty sky.
At that moment he suddenly realized the fundamental
nature of all reality, that beyond physical characteristics,
beyond any contracting of the mind, that he and all
beings were fundamentally the same. He was that morning
star, was the whole universe itself.
When Shakyamuni Buddha first experienced enlightenment,
he exclaimed that it was amazing, miraculous, and
wonderful that all beings had the same wisdom and
compassion as the fully awakened one. He excaimed:
How strange! Everyone
has it! Everyone has it within himself/herself… that
capacity for understanding, that capacity
for awakening, and the capacity for
loving. And yet, they have let themselves
sink in the ocean of suffering…
Please remember Shakyamuni was not
a “Buddhist.” He
was a man exploring “huh?”
Before continuing, reflect on your
"huh"s. What is one
question you bring to your intention
to sit Zen meditation?