The word Buddha means the Awakened One. Awaken to what? My opinion is that we awaken to the Oneness of Life, the One Body. That is my opinion of enlightenment. This awakening keeps deepening and deepening. What do I mean by deepening? Most of us are enlightened to the Oneness of our own body. I think that my arms, my legs, my face, etc. are all part of One Body. In fact I generally act according to that opinion without thinking about it. It is very natural to do so and, in fact, if I didn’t act that way, people might say I am deluded.

Kōbō-Daishi (774–835, founder of Shingon Sect) said that we can tell the depth of a person’s enlightenment by how they serve others. If they are focused on themselves, they have awakened to the Oneness of themselves. If they are focused on their family, they have awakened to the Oneness of their family. If they are focused on their nation, they have awakened to the Oneness of their nation, etc., etc. In my opinion, the Dalai Lama has awakened to the Oneness of the Universe.

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From Deb Pond: I have a lot of questions about what it means to be clear-minded. -What does it mean to be “already” awake, if we do not seem to be experiencing it now?,,, Believing we are already awake, when we do not know we are experiencing it – is this just a concept? -I have heard about the “great functioning” as a being in tune with the environment and relating to it harmoniously – but not necessarily realizing one is doing so. Please clarify the great functioning. -Please clarify delusion and how it is different from awakening. -What sort of wakefulness exists in a coma? In the sleep state?

My opinion: As you can see from my opinion on “What is Enlightenment”, we are “already” awake to the level that we are awake. There are many levels of enlightenment. This is not a concept, although I am confident there are many concepts out there about enlightenment and my opinion is just my opinion. For me, the great functioning is the functioning due to our level of awakening and it should be ovious to everyone except, perhaps, the person doing the functioning. To me, delusion is any opinion that we are attached to. Opinions are not right, not wrong, not enlightened, not deluded. They are simply opinions. Any opinion we attach to is a delusion and we become deluded. Reading my opinions, what is your opinion about the coma state, the sleep state?

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From Sue Bulsara : What is your opinion about the following situation: if I act, one group of people benefit, if I don’t act another group of people benefit. Should I sit with it until I can access the place where both sets of people benefit? Or is that too Tao?

My opinion is that if you act, one group of people will benefit, and if you don’t act another group of people benefit. Sitting with it is an action. My opinion is that there will never be a situation where everyone thinks they are benefitting from your action. Just throw the ball, Sue.

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From Chris Crumb: A while back I did a little online research about your teacher Maezumi Roshi’s life. I was interested to learn more about who taught you. A Wikepedia article and others stated he was an alcoholic and died as a result of his alcoholism. It reminds me of Chogyam Trungpa another Buddhist lama/teacher alcoholic.

I am wondering how you feel and what you think about your own teachers alcoholism? Do you think it is possible to be fully awake and be a drunk? To be enlightened and alcoholic?

Trungpa claimed he was drinking to experience what it was like to be one. That sounds like denial to me.

My opinion is that I have never met a fully awakened individual and since the universe is infinite, i doubt if I ever will meet such an individual. I believe in continuous practice, ever deepening our state of enlightenment. An alcoholic is enlightened to the state of their awakening as is all of us. My feelings were and continue to be that my teacher could have done much better teaching if he wasn’t an alcoholic. To me, Trungpa’s claim was his opinion, man.

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From Billy Guilfoyle: Hey, I was wondering if it’s normal for a seeker or a spiritual advancer or whatever to want less and less, in the sense of romance and living extras. I live in my van, and lived in a tent in the woods for five months before that. I don’t feel the same longing for romance as before, despite having a high sex drive. It’s weird. Is there a sadness in not having anything to chase after?

My opinion is that some seekers or spiritual advancers want less and less, in the sense of romance and living extras and some seekers or spiritual advancers want more and more, in the sense of romance and living extras.

My experience has been that my enlightenment has deepened as I got older and that has led to less in the sense of romance but I attribute that to getting older not to be advanced in spirituality. It reminds me of many older zen teachers saying that you should live in the present. As I have gotten older, I find it harder and harder to remember anything else.

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