Friday, September 11, 2009


Within the confines of Zen Buddhism exists Kensho, or enlightenment. Kensho is achieved through meditation and introspection eventually leading to “seeing one’s nature or true self”. There are many different methods used to achieve Kensho, but they all lead to the same question; “Who am I”.

This is the great question that we all seek to answer through our actions. We are all trying to define who we are so that we can find meaning in our existence and ultimately define our legacy. Our reality is that we will define ourselves many times throughout our lives, not because change is necessary, but because we haven’t allowed ourselves to accept who we are. While a great question, spending absorbent amounts of time trying to figure ourselves out leads to inaction or questionable action, neither of which leads to enlightenment.

Kensho, or enlightenment, is the state attained when the cycle of reincarnation ends and human desire and suffering are transcended. This is an important idea because in order for us to create our true selves we must be able to move beyond desire and suffering so that we can create comfort within ourselves, free of any dependence. Essentially we must let go of all perceived power in order to gain ultimate power, we must understand that our desires are enslaving us to the point where we cannot simply exist in the moment for we are always trying to derive meaning from the moment. Because we always look for attachments and reasoning for why something is happening, we never allow ourselves to understand that subject and object are two separate entities.

In separating object and subject we must have ultimate trust in ourselves that our action will be moral and beyond reproach. When we are able to act in this way we no longer respond to our delusions and begin to live in a moment that is both real and meaningful. In understanding the non-duality between object and subject we don’t have to answer “Who am I” because we begin to live who we are meant to be. Through allowing this, we don’t have to define our existence; we let our existence define us because our actions within our existence were derived from purity and not through fabrication.

The purpose of Kensho is not to have a one time enlightening experience, but to live an enlightened life. Within an enlightened life we don’t have to answer “Who am I” because the question is rhetorical. There is no need to define what is already known and no need to live what has already been overcome.

There are only so many ways we can introspectively look at ourselves before we have to accept what we see. With our ability to accept ourselves through our mental mirror comes our ability to live the life of unlimited potential and opportunity, both of which are byproducts of Kensho.

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