In Buddha Nature, No Excuse is Necessary


“The reason everything looks beautiful is
because it is out of balance,
but its background is always in perfect harmony.

This is how everything exists
in the realm of Buddha nature, losing its balance
against a background of perfect balance.

So if you see things without
realizing the background of Buddha nature,
everything appears to be in the form of suffering.

But if you understand the background of existence,
you realize that suffering itself is how we live,
and how we extend our life.”

~Shunryu Suzuki

My blog posts are a bit out of sync for this has been a week of resistance, meaning accepting what is has not come easily. Whenever we resist what is, we suffer, for we hold on and tug at a moment, as if to reshape it and the future, as if we could.

That kind of attachment never works, ultimately. The freedom inherent in every moment is not only more palatable but more realistic, for every moment is framed within the harmony of Buddha nature.

When suffering is viewed through Buddha nature, resistance reveals itself as a struggle against what is being extended to us. If we just open up to whatever the moment is offering us, if we just trust the harmony of Buddha nature, we do not escape suffering nor do we push it away for another day. We accept and move through it.

It is tempting to trot out reasons and excuses for why we resist–some of them are really good stories in and of themselves–yet resistance relies on past moments that are beyond changing, which is not to say those moments may not find themselves in a story. Writing extends life to any moment as a new story playing out within the balance of Buddha nature.

Quite often, I lose my balance in life, unlike the old woman whose story I am writing. She knows her story and accepts Buddha nature as basic but she did not always. Writing a story is secondary to living one but like real life, story plays out on a blank canvas, as choices color each scene, ultimately revealing Buddha nature.


I try to remember the old woman when I slip away from Buddha nature for her story shows me what is possible—no matter what—but unlike the old woman, I do not have the benefit of knowing all my story, not yet. Rather, my advantage is the clean slate that every moment presents to me, as a writer and as an old woman, uncertain in both and curious about what happens next for either.

“Do not try to know the truth, for knowledge by the mind is not true knowledge. But you can know what is not true—which is enough to liberate you from the false. The idea that you know what is true is dangerous, for it keeps you imprisoned in the mind. It is when you do not know, that you are free to investigate. And there can be no salvation, without investigation, because non investigation is the main cause of bondage.”

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

15 thoughts on “In Buddha Nature, No Excuse is Necessary

  1. Great message from you, Shunryu Suzuki and Nisargadatta Maharaj. All three of you are at the top of your game.

    Everything exists because of balance. Positive cannot exist without negative. It is our nature to be drawn to what is immediately presented to us without questioning that from which it arises. It is a peaceful moment when we can take a step back and enjoy the larger picture and know that even it arises from a balance.


  2. Why is it such an effort to just be? My mind is always whirring with what was, what may come next, and , of course, the burdensome self considering the possibilities. A lifetime is not long enough to find my center of balance, that one, still point at which I am at peace with all that exists, one with the whole.


    1. I don’t know, Adrian, as I have lost count of the number of times I wonder. Of course, in wondering, I wander, and there I am, again. It’s good to know I am in great company.


  3. Thank you for a lovely read. My brain needs vacations from my day job and this was a good one. While I would have preferred a trip to Maui today this was pretty good.


  4. Thank you for sharing this, Karen. I love how so many of us seem to be on this similar path, and how often a post I read is exactly what I needed to read. This is one of those. Love, love, love the idea that everything is beautiful because it is out of balance….. wow. I can just sit with that one.


    1. Isn’t it great how many of us are sharing this path, meeting one another from time to time. I agree completely, Amy. So glad you enjoyed the post.


  5. Love this, Karen. I am publishing a post about perfection that fits perfectly with this post. I am also looking at a Rumi quotation that says, “You will learn by reading, but you will understand with love.” Here is to loving the present moment. {{{hugs}}} Kozo


    1. Thanks so much, Kozo, and I appreciate the pingback. You know how I enjoy reading your blog. The present moment is all we ever have, and it is enough.


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