Monday, January 9, 2012

Lack, Abunance, and A Line fron Dogen

If the dharma has not yet fully come into one's body and mind, one thinks it is already sufficient. On the other hand, if the dharma fills one's body and mind, there is a sense of insufficiency. Dogen, Genjokoan

Feeling insufficient, or having a strong sense of lack, is pretty common here in the U.S. anyway. Pretty ironic, given how much "material abundance" we have, even those of us who are fairly poor, at least in comparison to much of the rest of the world. But it's also beyond this.

I remember hearing about how the Dalai Lama was shocked that some people in "western" countries were plagued by self hatred, or at least battered "self-esteem." The strong influence of the doctrine of original sin, as well as capitalism's endless creation of "needs," certainly play a role in all of this.

So, there's that, but then we have the "sufficiency" Dogen speaks about above, which is an arrogance, a belief in a total understanding that isn't present.

These two things go together. The feelings of lack coupled with a belief that you have all the answers, are already fully awakened.

There's nothing really special, though, about the "lack" those of us living in materially rich countries experience. Maybe it just displays itself at such extremes that it's an easy example to uphold and examine.

In any case, humans tend to have it all flipped around, these experiences of insufficiency and sufficiency.

What do you think?

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