Those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings.
—Dogen Zenji, Shobogenzo
We are all foolish beings (prithagjnana= lacking wisdom). The sincere mind is the true understanding that even though we are, by nature, pure Light, since time immemorial we have been subject to the delusions of cognitive and affective obscurations.
This foolishness cannot be eradicated by the mere exercise of our own will, intellect, and effort. The deep mind looks to those enlightened Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas who have come before us, and rejoices in their virtue. The aspiring mind accepts the transference of Their merit to our liberation and enlightenment and, with gratitude, dedicates all our merit to the welfare of others.
It helps to remember the process when we encounter suffering in the world. The process of recovering our Buddha Nature —our enLIGHTenment— is gentle, persistent, and skilful. Very few beings, if any, are open to direct intervention, as our false selves will perceive such directness as an attack, and will recoil from it.
Bodhisattvas employ the four teaching principles of the Buddha: generosity, encouragement, sharing, and example. If and when persons ask for a more direct approach, we may be more explicit in our sharing of the Dharma, but we still must observe the other three principles.
We might break every precept; we might engage in countless dramas. We are subject to attachment, aversion, and indifference. We are all foolish beings.
But we simply go on relying on the Vows of the Buddha Amideva, Unbounded Light, for our own sake, and dedicate our merit, however small, to all other sentient beings. There’s nothing else we can do, and nothing else is necessary.
om amideva hrih