The Reward of Practice Part three by Charlotte Joko Beck


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For some people, intelligent therapy can be useful at this point. But people differ, and we can’t generalize.
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Nevertheless we cannot (nor should we try to) skip over this first movement from relative unhappiness to relative happiness. Why do I say “relative” happiness?
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No matter how much we may feel that our life is “happy,” still, if our life is based on a self, we cannot have a final resolution.
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Why can there not be a final resolution for a life based on a self?

Because such a life is based on a false premise, the premise that we are a self. Without exception we all believe this—every one of us. And any practice that stops with the attempted adjustment of the self is ultimately unsatisfying.
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To realize one’s true nature as no-self—a Buddha—is the fruit of zazen and the path of practice.
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The important thing (because only it is truly satisfying) is to follow this path.
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As we battle with the question of our true nature—self or no-self—the whole basis of our life must change.
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To adequately wage this battle, the whole feeling, the whole purpose, the whole orientation of life must be transformed.
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What might be the steps in such a practice? The first, as I said, is to move from relative unhappiness to relative happiness.
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At best this is a shaky accomplishment, one that is easily upset.
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But we must have some degree of relative happiness and stability to engage in serious practice.
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