Interview with Takuin ~ Part 2 of ?

This is part two of an ongoing interview with Takuin. You can read part one here. This particular interview goes into creativity, art and artistry, and part of my struggles as a young human trying to be expressive. The questions in this particular post, were asked by Liz.

Liz: First, let me follow up with a question or two from where Jake left off.

As far as having the support of your friends or family in your writing, do you think your posts might have turned out differently had there been that support?

Takuin: Well, there is an art to expressive writing, no matter the subject. And having support, especially from specific people, can make a big difference in the life of an artist. That difference is not necessarily directly translated into 'good' work, but there is a charge, or energy, for lack of a better word, that is present during the creation of the thing that can give the overall end result a sense of some kind of otherness; a touch of something special, which is not quite explainable.

Having that support can make a huge difference in the relationship between the artist and the medium, but it is not something you can easily quantify in a finished piece of work. And it is not something you necessarily carry with you consciously.

"It is not as if you are saying during the act of creation, "So and so loves me and supports what I do, so this is going to be great!" It is not like that at all."

It is like a residual scent of the love given from without. It is like perfume that can lightly intermingle with the work while it is being completed.

Liz: This sounds waaaay beyond my own life and work, haha. Even a bit 'mystical'?

Takuin: Well, I don't know about 'mystical', because the influence of one loving human being upon another is not mystical at all. It is just that the results of that love, speaking in terms of the creation of some kind of art, cannot be predicted. We cannot say it produces a specific kind of result. That is all.

But even so, I am convinced that something can take place between the artist and the work which is the result of one's encounters with others.

L: Do you think that a hateful person can also have a similar effect on the work?

TM: Oh, absolutely. But in both cases, I think either influence can be wonderful for the work in the end, whether it is pain or pleasure.

It is not easy to explain, but even if it were easy to explain, I am not sure knowing it would be very helpful to an artist. Oh, but I never answered your question!

L: HEY! That is right!

TM: I did not really have direct, active support in any of my writing, so it is difficult to say. Would the work be different had the circumstances been changed? Who knows? There is the possibility, but I don't want to make this confusing, because what I am talking about has no direct effect on the work. It is not about sentence structure, choosing the better word, or ruthlessly editing and killing your darlings. It is none of that.

L: If it is an 'act of creation' kind of thing, then this influence must also be present in other forms of art, correct?

TM: It is something the artist, the human being, carries with him/her, so any creative endeavor could potentially carry that influence. So yes.

L: Was it at all discouraging to be without the kind of support we're talking about here?

TM: Currently? No. But as a child, absolutely. I can clearly see the decisions I made growing up - the various forks in the road - and how those decisions were influenced by that lack of support. It was not a lack of love or anything. But I think it is difficult for some people to understand the mind of a young artist, or expressive human being.

"It is far easier to beat that mind down so it will conform to the norm, as opposed to opening up and trying to really understand something truly different and potentially remarkable."

But that is so common in our world. Those that are different are beaten back in order to keep the status quo chugging right along. It takes great strength to resist that, especially when it comes from those you love. It is a hurdle many young people may never be able to clear.

L: And how did you resist that as a young man?

TM: I didn't, haha. I was beaten back sufficiently. But I always had secrets up my sleeve. I had my own underground railroad of escape routes, which I kept separate from my 'regular' life. Eventually I became the person hiding in those dank tunnels, and it became a part of my regular life, but I had to keep the truth of the thing from everyone, or at least, most people. I just didn't want to hear the bullshit about how I was wasting my time...

Even though I allowed creativity to surface, I only let it go so far; out of fear, I suppose. It was far easier to keep it all to myself. At least in that way, no one would ever give me any shit or tell me how odd my ideas or creations were. But unfortunately, timidity became my nature, and all because I could not feel the strength to say the hell with it and just do what I wanted to do.

L: And what is it you wanted to do? What were those interests or those creations?

TM: More than anything else, I was born a musician. The first time I sat behind a set of drums, I could play. The first time someone set a musical score in front of me, I could read. I have a nearly perfect memory for sounds I have heard a handful of times. It takes no effort for me, and it is really beyond my control.

"I still need to practice, and if I don't read for a long time the ability diminishes, just like with anyone else. But music has always been easy for me, and with those major difficulties out of the way, I could focus on deeper things."

L: Like what?

TM: Well, there are technical elements of music that any musician must master to some degree. What they play and how they play it determines exactly how deeply they need to go into those things, of course.

Kurt Cobain had a completely different set of technical considerations from say, Jaco Pastorius. But both of them were able to deeply explore beyond what came easy to them. Certain aspects were easy for Kurt, just as certain aspects were easy for Jaco, but the importance of what they created went beyond those things, as they were able to deeply explore the other side.

Speaking of myself, I could safely ignore certain aspects of music to some degree, because it took very little effort for me to get a handle on them. With those considerations out of the way, I could focus on trying to find interesting means of expression.

If you never have to study or practice ear training, or if you have to put very little time into learning scales and so on, it frees up a hell of a lot of time, haha. I still practice those things from time to time ... well, NEVER ear training ... I'd rather shoot myself in the ass. But luckily, ear training is something I have never had to worry about. ;-)

I tested out of those things when I first got to Berklee anyway ...

L: What was it like to attend Berklee?

TM: It wasn't an overwhelmingly positive experience for me. But I think that had more to do with the person I was in those days. The best part of going to Berklee was the exposure to musicians from all over the world. I learned far more from them than I ever did from the curriculum. Also, If I had not gone to Berklee, I probably would not be in Japan right now. So it all worked out just fine in the end, haha.

L: Were you a good student?

TM: Hell no! I don't think I have ever been a good institutionalized learner.

I assumed, before I got there, that Berklee would solve all of my problems as a musician. I mean, hey, it IS Berklee after all. But unfortunately, I had to take ME with me, haha. If I could have gone, and left me at home, it would have been far better for everyone.

L: Why is that?

TM: Although I had a good exterior, I had no real confidence in myself. Regardless of my abilities.

"I think I always felt like a fraud, as if someone might suss me out at any moment, and point at me screaming like Donald Sutherland at the end of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'."

Somewhere in my mind, I never thought I was good enough to be at Berklee. I could not see it then, but I can see that clearly now. I was always good at hiding those feelings, though.

I was very weak when it came to believing in what I could accomplish. And that feeling stayed with me in so many areas of my life, for a very long time. I just couldn't seem to get away from it.

L: And that had to do with that lack of support we spoke of earlier ...

TM: Amongst other things, yes.

L: OK.

How then, did you become a writer?

TM: By accident. I think I was always interested in writing something, but I was never quite sure what I wanted that something to be.

For awhile I assumed if one wanted to express themselves with the written word, one would choose fiction. After that I thought non-fiction was the way to go. Then screenplays. Then poetry. I could never pin down what it was I wanted to write.

After the accident of December 2006, it all took care of itself, I suppose. I was compelled to write, with no real worries of literary merit, haha.

I don't know if I effectively expressed myself in words, or if I was even understood most of the time. But something did come of it, and my focus nowadays, as far as writing is concerned, is to express something different than before, while never discarding the tools I developed in writing at for the last six years.

L: I could always 'feel' something through your writing, and sometimes it WAS difficult to understand. But I think there was always a directness in your words, no matter how many of them you used. I am very interested in seeing what you come up with next!

TM: So am I, haha!

L: Let's change the subject.

The kind of work you've done at ... do you think that is something you can just easily walk away from?

TM: I don't look at it in that way. I don't think of it as 'walking away'.

As human beings, we evolve, take on new shapes, forge new paths and leap in new directions. And while it may be a definite change in direction as far as content is concerned, it is still an extension of what I am. It is just a turning of the cheek, or seeing the face for the first time in deep shadow as opposed to bright light.

During my skype calls, emails, or face to face meetings, I was always fond of saying something to the effect of, "If someone is a teacher, spiritual or otherwise, they should be more interested in LOSING followers as opposed to acquiring them."

"To keep followers, to acquire them, put them in the fridge and hope they don't expire too soon, is to live without evolution; just another form of security, both for the teacher and the student."

If a teacher cannot give you the tools to discover and explore on your own, within a year - perhaps two - then what the hell are they doing? I'll tell you ... wasting your time! And this is, of course, also the responsibility of the student.

For the teacher to remain there is to be stuck ... to wilt on the vine. And the same goes for the student. To hope for freedom from their favorite source, is to be stuck. To live without curiosity and care. Gentleness. Suppleness. Whatever you might want to say.

Had I kept writing in the same way as I always had, it would not have been right. I would have been just another jackass (and perhaps I am anyway), clutching desperately to what has become comfortable.

Just. Isn't. Right.

It is the nature of human beings to grow and evolve. And most of us spend our days fighting this natural impulse.

L: Would you do anything differently if you could go back and do it over again?

TM: No. No way.

That is an impossibility, really. In exploration, there is no going back. It is all encompassing. And while things may arise differently on a different day, the nature of exploration makes it silly to regret anything one has seen or not seen.

And besides, doing things differently implies also there is a 'good' result, or a finish line. And if a seeker, during some part of their journey, feels like they keep running their head into a wall, that is usually the reason.

L: You mean, because of a desired result?

TM: Yes.

L: Well, what can they do about it?

TM: Smell the flowers. Find someone they love, and spend time with them. Embrace a friend that truly needs them. Teach a child that the stupidity of the adults surrounding them is not their fault. Eat dessert while looking out into the ocean...

L: That won't sound very spiritual to a seeker, haha!

TM: And that is why they will fail.


This interview series will continue in future posts.

November Project 2011 Finale

This post wraps up the November Project 2011. Now that there have been a few days of space, and as I sit here looking over the posts for November, I think the project went quite well.

I would like to thank everyone for all their wonderful questions. I could not use them all, but I am grateful for every one. And special thanks goes to everyone taking part in the comments. It is always good to see others give themselves over to the questions in order to look deeper into them.

Thanks very much!

For those of you new to the site, and to the veterans unable to read the earlier posts, the following list contains all of the writings for the November Project 2011, in order.

The November Project 2011

01: On Dropping Thought

02: The State of Non-Duality

03: Burning the Notebooks

04: Quick Thoughts on Living

05: Questions Answered - Again!

06: On Increased Awakenings

07: Quick Reply on Living

08: Life After Death

09: What Are You Reading?

10: Confused About Enlightenment

11: In Sickness

12: Belief

13: On Writing at

14: On Freedom

15: On Meditation

16: On Dreaming

17: On the Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011

18: On Finding Out for Yourself

19: Where Should I Sit?

20: On Siddhis and Super-Powers ;-)

21: Takuin on Film

22: On Conclusion

23: On Apophis, Natural Resources, and Love

24: On Haters and Troublemakers

25: On Enlightenment and Awakening

26: On Ending

27: Ask the Reader

28: On Questions

29: On Suffering

30: One Last Sentence

Thanks again, everyone! ;-)

And for those of you coming to these posts late, please keep this in mind: Quick Note on Comments

The Woods

Ask the Reader

November Project: Question #27 I received this in my email inbox just a few minutes ago from James

I can't imagine the number of questions you must get all the time, nevermind this November project. But I wonder if you have a question for your readers? My question is, what one question would you like to ask your readers?

Hmm...interesting. I like this. :-)

My question for the readers is one that no one has ever asked me.

What concerns you in your daily lives?

Whether this concern blocks you off from what you consider daily life, or is an integrated part, however you might see it, what concerns you? Forget for the moment if you believe your concerns to be selfish or of no real importance, or even if you believe those concerns to be illusory...I don't care about that...

I would just like to know, as human beings running around living your lives, what is it that concerns you? To be good parents? To be enlightened? To get laid? To make a name for yourselves? Or something else entirely? What is it?

And I ask this question with love. It is in no way accusatory, nor asked to make you think you are not doing enough in the 'right' areas.

I am really looking forward to your replies, as simple or complicated as they might be.

Questions Answered - Again!

November Project: Question #5 I knew this would happen at some point during the November Project. It happened last year, in fact...

So far, 5 days into the project, I have received around 45 to 50 questions. I will probably end up using 15 out of those 50. And not because the questions are 'bad'. It is just that many of the 50 are repeatedly asked. Not only that, they have already been addressed in a post from last year's November Project called Questions Answered. To handle the deluge of familiar questions, we'll do the same again.

So, does that mean I am going to just take the cheap way out and link to that article? Yes, but with a few additions. ;-)

Here are a couple reasons why:

1.) Since the November Project last year, the number of subscribers has about doubled. So there is a whole new group of readers that may have missed those explorations the first time.

2.) The repeat questions this year are almost IDENTICAL to the questions asked last year. The only real difference is those questions are in greater numbers this year, haha.

The questions in last year's post, Questions Answered, are grouped into 5 categories consisting of the most frequently asked questions. I have received some variation of the same questions this year (apart from #4, for whatever reason), so it is still a good fit.

There are some posts written after last year's project that may fit nicely as well. I will append those below.

In Shinagawa Station

But first I want to say, even though I have used the word answer in relation to these questions, please never think of what is written as an answer. They are merely explorations, and nothing more. Don't think of it in terms of right or wrong. Just open yourself to the exploration and take it from there.

Last Year's Post, Questions Answered

Related articles posted since last year's project:

From the Journal

Sitting #5

Be Good

Just Look

Cook Your Own Meal


Also, I should say I am still taking in questions for this project. Even though I have received more than enough to fill up the entire month, I will not stop taking questions until November 30th, so keep them coming!

Be Good!!

November Project 2011: 30 Questions with Takuin

Time for another month-long project! I received many wonderful questions last year, and I am looking forward to doing it again. Here's the project:

For the entire month of November, I will be answering one question per day, every day, from a reader. And I will be taking submissions every single day, right up to November 30th.

You can submit your questions by commenting on this post, through the Contact Page on this site, on Twitter, or on the Life Beyond the Image Facebook Page.

For those of you submitting questions, I’ll be happy to link to you if you have a website, Twitter account, etc. But if you want to remain anonymous, or if you do not tell me one way or the other, I will just use your first name, or your initials.

I will most likely answer your questions in a written post, but I may decide to record audio or video for the answer instead. I’ll just go with whatever feels right at the time.

The questions themselves should be on the topic of this website, but we can still have some fun. Use your imagination, and feel free to ask anything you like. I can’t guarantee I’ll answer every question, but I will keep them all as I might use them in future posts. So let’s get to it!

November 1st is rapidly approaching...What would you like to ask?

Big Tree

A Question on Speaking

This question came from James through Skype.

'What was it like for you to meet with people after you had the 'accident' of your liberation?'

Thank you for the question, James.

I remember people having the most interesting questions. And I honestly had no answer for them and cannot say I knew anything at all about what they asked. But I wanted to come together with them, and we would walk together, step by step, as if holding hands, and we would find out - or not - together.

I felt they were instructing me, as I often moved like a blind man with newly given sight. But that may be what they came to me for; to hear the discoveries of the newly sighted man. And I didn't mind at all.

But if they came to be taught, then I failed them completely.

Takuin's mind may be a giving mind, whatever that means, but it is not giving of answers. And this is confusing to so many who have come to see him. There is no end goal, and nothing to be attained at the end. There is only the moment by moment functioning of the organism.

But they wanted Liberation so badly, you see, and they hoped that through an answer, or even just through physical closeness to the speaker, they would be imparted with a wonderful gift, or the end state they had hoped to find.

Inside Yoyogi Koen

Liberation is not in an end, nor is it in a beginning. It is life, as it is lived. Nothing more, and nothing less.

I have said this kind of thing before, and invariably someone comes back with, "Well, I live my life everyday, and still it is not like yours," but I question that. Not the bit about Takuin's life, as that is insignificant here. No, I question whether they have ever truly lived even one moment of their lives.

And there is nothing wrong with that, really, for they must see the reality of their functioning and fully understand the thing they are, and not the person they someday hope to be.

Life is not a matter of finding the answer to an exalted state, but more a matter of shutting the mouth-mind and simply living.

There is no state to live in, only living. No end to find, only the exploration. There is not even anyone else to light your candle. You'll have to do that for yourself.

If you come to me for answers, you'll only find discomfort. That is the only teaching I can offer.

The Road to Enlightenment

Is there a linear progression towards enlightenment? Can a person who seems most unlikely to get enlightened or uncover peace actually get enlightened or uncover peace one fine day, in spite of himself or herself?

Read More

What is Enlightenment?

I've been reading your site for a short time now, and I've got a question. I havn't yet found anywhere on this site any real description of what enlightenment is. So, what is enlightenment? What the hell is this thing everyone seems to be looking for?

Read More

Beyond Technique

Question of the Week : On Losing the Self

Please please tell me is there a way to lose the way you lost. I am desperate almost...

...I know the theoretical answers. I am not looking for answers. I am looking for peace...

...I have heard answers like no one can help get what you already have, or be what you truly already are... I know those answers. please help.

The Ocean

If you are looking for peace, and you have not found it in the answers, walk away from the answers. Walk away from what you've been taught.

This does not mean you will no longer be serious about what is going on within you. And it does not mean you will have 'given up.' The problem does not reside within you, but within the answers you've been given.

I have heard the answers you've mentioned many times before. The All Is One, You Can Only Be What You Are, Sleeper Awakes From The Dream, or whatever it might be. But these phrases will do nothing to placate you, as you've probably thoroughly investigated them to the best of your ability.

Imagine a painter. She has all of the right tools and equipment, and lacks nothing for the physical exertion necessary to paint. She moves a brush covered in the brightest crimson paint toward blank canvas and leaves a tight, vibrant slash of red. She does not necessarily know where she is going. She may have a vague notion or image, but it is incomplete in her mind.

She understands the act of painting itself is all the teaching she will ever need. If she were ever to ask How? her answer would always be incomplete, because something other than painting would be teaching her how to paint.

That is not to say there is anything wrong with technique; learning how to manage and use materials, how to properly handle oil paint or maintain brushes, or whatever it is; but technique alone can never teach you how to express yourself fully as a human being.

In searching out the answers, you are asking someone else to hand it over to you. And this is wonderful from the perspective of technique, as it is necessary in the physical world. But what you seek is so beyond the physical, it defies description.

It is a land beyond the shores of technique.

I am not sure if these words will be helpful to you, but regardless, I hope you uncover peace for yourself; the peace that resides within us all.

Good luck to you...

The Wound of Forgiveness

This post is a group effort of sorts. A few other writers are posting on this same topic of Forgiveness today. Links to their sites and articles follow at the end of this post.

On the Beach

Junko asks:

What happens when someone hurts you? How does Takuin forgive a wound?

The way you are using the word Forgive, in order for forgiveness to flower, there must first be a wound of some kind. Something that hurts me in some way that I carry around for whatever reasons.

I will not deny the suffering of another; that someone might carry around events heavily in their mind, torturing themsleves day and night. But you asked Takuin the question, so let's see what comes up.

(For this discussion, I'll use the word Forgive as you've used it above.)

The Wound

We can call the result of physical damage a wound, as it can be measured and observed in the physical world. You can certainly hurt this body; kick it, stab it, destroy it, or otherwise impede or slow its physical functioning; but that is an extremely limited and insignificant action.

Physical wounds do not require forgiveness because it has nothing to do with Takuin. You might hurt this body physically, and effect it for years to come, but that is as far as it goes. Nothing carries over.

But what about a wound beyond the physical? How can you forgive that?

Is there a wound that is beyond the physical?

You might tell me, someone said this or that, and it wasn't true, and it hurts me badly. Where is this wound, and whom does it hurt?

I am not trying to build up an ideal world for you where people carry nothing with them; no hurtful words, devastating events, or whatever. I can only express how it unfolds within this organism.

There is no wound beyond the physical. What is beyond the physical can never be hurt by any word or event. It doesn't cause a stain, leave a mark, or become scabrous over time.

Liberation, the truth of what you are, oneness, or whatever you might call it, cannot be hurt, nor does it desire to be free from hurt. There is no messenger to carry the message, and no construct to house it in.

This is not a matter of ignoring anything, or turning your back to the world. If you do indeed have some pain from memory, open the door and greet it at once. Find out if it actually holds any weight whatsoever. Find out if it is anything more than eloquent hearsay.

To Forgive

As I mentioned above, this is not to deny any pain you might feel within yourself, and I would never try to convince you otherwise. But why do you need to forgive?

It might sound like a silly question, but why? Is it for the other person? Is it for you? Only you can answer this, as no one else can know precisely how you are functioning from moment to moment.

Do you want to forgive in order to be free of pain? Or do you forgive so your life might have some stability and structure, even if that structure is destructive?

If you don't mind, I'll tell you a small personal story. Have a listen...

(If you are on the RSS feed, or reading this through an email subscription and you cannot see the audio player, please click through to the post to listen.)


For her, forgiveness was just a tool to get what she wanted more than life itself; to not be alone.

What is Forgiveness to You?

I know there are other definitions of the word Forgiveness, and different faiths might interpret the word to mean something entirely different from the way we've used it today. But Forgiveness, as we've been using the word, arises from the wound, from the pain, from the hurt.

If there is no wound, where is forgiveness?

What is Forgiveness to you?

A few other writers took up their pens (or keyboards) to write on this same subject today. The initial idea was to all write on the same topic, but with our own unique expressions. I am sure these other contributions will be wonderful and well worth your time to check out.

Albert Foong at - Our Innate Innocence – Reflections on Forgiveness

Tom Stine at - There Is Nothing to Forgive

Daphne Lim at - The Gift of Forgiveness

Davidya @ In 2 Deep - Deep Forgiveness

If you want to join in, please leave a comment below. You can also write your own article on forgiveness and link to it from the comments. I'd love to read what you have to say on the subject.


The Landscape of the Dreamer

This post is a response to questions and statements posed to Takuin by Shinai, on the post A Question for my Peers... Thank you very much Shinai, for taking the time to add to the conversation on that post. The comment, and my response, follow below.


I’m coming into this conversation very late. My response is to the original post/question by Takuin.

The question about what’s beneficial to humanity only has meaning within the context of the dream of self, which is, by definition, not real. Any story generated to explain dualities of cause and effect or beneficial versus harmful (etc.) are meaningless. And yet sometimes stories are generated. Who is there to have an opinion on the matter? No one. And yet opinions seem to happen sometimes. Curious.

From outside the dream, your question is meaningless. There is no such thing as “beneficial” or “harmful”. There is no cause and effect. There is only what is. “Our” ideas about it are irrelevant. “We” are not even real. If “we” aren’t real, how can “our” ideas have any validity at all?

In response to the post above me, your response to Sass, if there are no separate individuals, how can we assign fault to them? Fault can only exist in a dualistic framework.

Cheers and namaste.

Thank you, Shinai.

The purpose of the question was to generate an interaction between writers, speakers, bloggers, and so on, of spiritual matters. Whether or not the question is meaningless is also meaningless, as each person will go into these things in their own way.

I didn't ask the question with any hidden agenda or belief. It wasn't, "In what way is this helpful to humanity?" because I believe it is this way or that way, and I want to see how you come up against my belief. It is just the question. Now there may be certain things implicit in the question, but these things come out during the exploration and can be taken as they arise.

Looking back on this post, I am very happy, not only with the responses, but also that so many people took it seriously and had a genuine interest in seeing this thing for themselves.

There is no such thing as “beneficial” or “harmful”. There is no cause and effect. There is only what is.

There is NO What Is. Even that is too much.

We might say it is All One, or it is only What Is, or a million other things, but to the dreamer it is only a supposition. They begin the search based on an idea of a tangible state that can be acquired. So even though we might say it IS, the dreamer approaches the thing by building a different dream. Then the dreamer goes off, looking for the thing they imagine to be true, but their journey cannot touch that which is immeasurable (if I can say it that way).

In the liberated mind (if that is the right phrase), there is no question or statement of What Is. The idea of What Is only arises from the dreamer; the one searching for it.

“We” are not even real. If “we” aren’t real, how can “our” ideas have any validity at all?

They do not have any meaning, as far as what we are discussing here. All of the products of thought are in a constant state of decay. Thought itself is decay. It has no life in the sense of a living organism; a flower, a tree, a human being, or whatever. That does not make thought good or bad; it is simply thought.

What you may want to consider is the world of humanity is asleep. Anything we say to the sleeping world (or person) can only be interpreted through their dreams as you have put it. So even to say "There is only what is," is to further add weight to the dream.

This is not to point fingers, mind you. Not at all. Takuin has probably said such things countless times. It can be careless to just tell someone it is What Is, but depending on the interaction with another living human being, it may end up being 'necessary'. We of course cannot know what will come up in a conversation, and we always have to take it one step at a time if we are really interested in listening and sharing.

Sometimes we have to share in the dreams of others. It is not that we deny their trials and tribulations, or tell them their pain has no meaning only because we might see it in another way. That is insensitive and not helpful to a dreamer. If you want to help another human being, you have to help them through their own landscape, and not force them into your own.

Of course, sometimes this is not necessary at all. But compassion always knows when to and when not to.

In response to the post above me, your response to Sass, if there are no separate individuals, how can we assign fault to them?

No fault was assigned. But let's not place too much value on the words themselves. Before we make a move, we should find out from the speaker, whoever that might be, what they meant to say. But in most cases this is not necessary, as we can easily explore through the current interaction, as we are doing now...

Thank you very much, Shinai, for your wonderful questions and exploration. Please feel free to comment below if you wish. I am sure many of the regular readers here will also have much to say on this topic.

NOTE: To see the comment in its original context, click here.

What Did Takuin Do?

In retrospect, do you think anything you did ignited or prepared the stage for the explosion?
"There was a time when I wanted to get high all the time, and so I did. There were times when I wanted to have sex all the time, and so I did. There were times I wanted to fight all the time, and so I did. And none of it went anywhere."

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Are We Not 'All One'?

How could I or anyone NOT be All One? It is so easy to use these phrases, and I hear it quite frequently through talks and dialogues and so on. And whenever I question these words, I consistently receive puzzled looks or responses from those present. Perhaps it is because they have read that we are All One, so they find it strange that I question it at all. But I find it strange that they do not.

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A Question for My Peers...

This is a question for fellow writers of spiritual matters, but anyone is free to comment below. I have noticed a trend - and it is nothing earth shattering - in this world of spiritual teaching:

A man or woman may come to a realization, perhaps only a realization on a superficial level, or perhaps something deeper, then...

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Are You Enlightened?

"I look back to me as a 4 year old on the balcony laying looking into the stars...I feel then what i feel now. I am then who I am now. I would say that the search for enlightenment lies within you, and rather than the silencing of the mind, I'd opt for listening. How do you approach your search? Do you consider yourself 'enlightened'?"

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