Perhaps a Glimpse of Buddha Nature

Every once in a while I think I catch a glimpse of Buddha nature. Actually, it is more of a feeling than an actual sighting. In other words, any “aha-moment” vanishes the moment the recognition is mine. I suspect that is how it always is with Buddha nature.

Budda Nature glimpse 0414

Even the term, Buddha nature, is known by many other names. For me, it is the eternal aspect of existence–energy vibrating in infinite dimensions and form as matter and anti-matter—creating a background of immutable harmony so that we are able to live our lives with choice.

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.

~Shunryu Suzuki~

Suzuki’s description is a familiar one on this blog, as I have cited it many times. For me, it is the essence of the feeling I get whenever I sense Buddha nature. No matter the definition or description, the idea of a balanced background against the days of our lives means we always have options.

For me, Buddha nature is what I am and have been from my inception, the blank canvas that was me at birth. If I look closely at this painting that is my life, its background is in perfect balance, allowing me to lose and regain myself moment after moment.

New growth 0414

Dates and years frame the triptych of my past, present, and future. I am the artist’s brush, swirling with the color of every choice, stroke after stroke on the canvas that is my moment in Buddha nature. Its balanced background—the context of my life—absorbs the outcome of each moment that is my life.

Buddha nature does not allow me to slide through my life unaware or it does. The choice is mine. In any given moment it is up to me how aware I am of my own brush stroke. In mindful moments is when I glimpse Buddha nature.

The moment is hazy at first, floating in and out like any other, yet its rhythm is different, like an undercurrent that absorbs rather than pulls. Maybe this is what synchronicity is; regardless, I am immersed in it. In such a moment, the ending is as uncertain as is the beginning but I am bothered by neither.

Rather, it is like a story that begins with “once upon a time” and ends with ever after and forever. I am confident there is a bridge between the beginning and the end and indifferent to the outcome. Buddha nature has the essence of a rainbow, a bridge to and from and back again.

Only life is in flux, neither ending nor beginning but always being, not a snapping of photographs or a study in stillness but a series of scene changes as the stroke of the artist aligns with change against the constancy of Buddha nature. The painting that is my life is only one scene in the tapestry of existence yet mine mirrors all others in that it is lived.

As I say, every once in a while I think I get a glimpse.

20 thoughts on “Perhaps a Glimpse of Buddha Nature

  1. Such a beautiful glimpse, Karen. I love the idea of Buddha nature being the background that absorbs all change. I also love the canvas and brush stroke metaphor. Your statement “it is like a story that begins with “once upon a time” and ends with ever after and forever” made me feel comfortable with my life. I’m not sure how or why, but it did. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo


    1. Wow, Kozo! Just saw your comment! Am planning on referencing this post as I continue to explore life as a painting. Thanks, as always, for your lovely comment, and I apologize for missing it, initially, but how lovely it is to find it on this day, some months later!


  2. I love your description of Buddha nature so much! From it being a feeling more than an actual sighting to your description of it being an undercurrent that absorbs rather than pulls, I can relate to the essential truth of what you are describing from my own experience with this. Thank you for putting it in words that are both so beautiful and so well expressed!


    1. Getting a glimpse really does help me balance my own life. As I mentioned to Matthew, it is a place to hang my hat as I sit within the whirl that is life. It really is a total immersion. Thanks, Kenetha!


  3. Thank you! My own life, just now, is swirling with ever-increasing speed and chaos; your words are a timely reminder that, in truth, we have to accept the shapes and patterns with which we are surrounded. And remind ourselves that, at heart, we are indeed but a part of a wider – and wonderful – tapestry of existence.


    1. Yes, Matthew, to remember that we are part of the “tapestry of existence” seems key to our daily lives. For me, remembering the balanced background of Buddha nature allows me choice after choice is like having a place to hang my hat, if you will, for all those times when impermanence is so stunning. Thanks, Matthew!


  4. Karen, it is uncanny how you and I, at times seem to share one thought. For me, the stillness of arriving at the place you describe is the kind of experience you have as you sit in an airplane. Although the plane is moving very fast, the passengers experience the speed as if they were sitting in a room that is moving not at all. When I am momentarily able to touch the infinite eternal, it is as if I am traveling at its speed and therefore feel nothing but the sense that I am there.

    Your observation that you can glimpse this greater reality, or ignore it completely is true. For many it doesn’t exist. I wonder why that is. Why do some of us seek and seek and others deal only with the concrete business at hand? And which of us is wiser?

    Like you, I don’t seem to have a choice in the matter. I aspire toward those moments when I forget my separateness and am a part of the all-encompassing One.


    1. It is uncanny, Adrian. I thought of you as I wrote this post for so often we seem to be sitting in the same moment, setting aside all separateness for all. I cannot imagine not being there.


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