to encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment.
I love this line from the Identity of Relative and Absolute. This one line pretty much sums up one of my primary views of Buddhism – whether or not you have touched your Buddha-Nature or not; briefly viewed kensho – you are still a beginner. A child in practice. A mere footstep ahead of where you were previously.
In Western culture, we view worth as measured by quantity rather than quality. If we hit kensho then we have achieved…grown….changed. This is bunk. We are enamoured by the idea of kensho – of encountering the Absolute – of changing. But equating kensho with enlightenment or with anything special at all is equivalent with equating touching a boob with sex. Yes, its nice but nothing compared to getting laid.
This line should be keeping us honest in Zen. Keeping us humble. Everytime, if we are lucky enough to hit kensho, we should be reminded of how far we have to go. It should be keeping us in touch not with what we achieved but with what we haven’t. It should ground us and stabilize us.
But it doesn’t. We run around after Kensho like a middle school boy who just touched his first boob. And then brag about it in the schoolyard.