Awakening is about opening our eyes (literally and figuratively) to the nature of our existence. It is about living with mindfulness in every moment and stepping slowly away from ignorance and unknowingness. It is about unplugging from an over-connected world and looking past distractions to discover the true person within us – which is the only place that really matters.
There is a treasured Zen story about the nature of awakening and enlightenment:
The young monk traveled to a large temple on the mountain to speak to a Zen Master.
The Master asked: “What do you seek?”
“Enlightenment,” replied the young monk.
“You have your own temple. Why do you visit mine?” said the Master.
The young monk was confused. “Where is my temple, Master?”
“What you are asking… is your temple,” said the Master.
After a moment, the monk smiled. He returned home and told all of his friends from that day forward: “Visit your own temple.”
We so often seek outside answers for questions that can be resolved simply by slowing down and looking within ourselves. This is what awakening is all about – opening our eyes, observing the details of the present moment, and realizing that life is a beautiful journey and we are headed in the right direction, whether we choose to realize that or not.
Suggested Reading: Panchayudha Jataka – Five Kinds of Weapons