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Eight Ways To Wake Up A Great Person

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

By Andrew H. Housley


I was thinking about the Zen Master Taisen Deshimaru's thoughts on how to discover the greatness inside each of us. Like most Zen thinking, the thoughts here can seem abstract and difficult to manage. I took the liberty of boiling the master's thoughts down into more digestible segments.

"Go back to the source, the place where it all begins. Learn what we really are and mean, find the true self."

#1 - Have Few Desires

Live simply.

Buddha said, "ambitious people who want honor and profit will suffer." As humans, our desires are endless. Once we attain or possess one thing, we seek the next thing and the next thing after that - it's a never-ending cycle. This cycle causes suffering.

Express thanks for the things you do have, regardless of how seemingly insignificant they may appear. We discussed gratitude in an episode.

#2 - It Is Enough

When you receive something - it is enough. Don't ask for more or complain.

"Whoever is not satisfied will always feel poor, even if he is rich."

- Taisen Deshimaru

#3 - Be Quiet, Unassuming & Joyful

Those who live peacefully are respected by all. You must live alone, not physically but in a state of mind. Being alone in the sense of being unattached - this ends the source of suffering.

#4 - Keep Going

Just as water constantly flowing over the same place can hollow out a stone, so too can your continued effort. Don't push or overdo it. Steady habits and rituals are necessary. They must be repeated every day. This is a good rule whether you're a yogi practicing asanas, studying sutras, or a Zenist practicing Zazen. Stay on the path. Don't seek shortcuts or immediate results.

#5 - Protect The Truth From Illusion

Here the master is referring to "the truth" as Dharma, the laws of the universe, known or unknown. Through meditation, we return to the peaceful and normal condition of the body and mind, to a place of thinking without thought, beyond thought. Here must be careful not to mislead ourselves with illusions and wrong thinking. To be robbed by the "five thieves": sex, overeating, love of honor, greed, and insanity.

#6 - Practice Samadhi

By controlling our minds through zazen and samadhi, we can understand the cosmic order of things. The world outside might appear full of chaos, pain, and anger, but we must remain calm to rediscover the normal condition of things. This can only be found with consistent effort.

#7 - Understand Your Energy

The energy you create by practicing zazen and samadhi is very powerful. Don't underestimate or discount it.

#8 - Don't Fight Or Argue

Come to accept that this life and world are impermanent - thinking any differently is to fight. Regardless of the money in our bank accounts or how famous we become, our lives are not endless. Nothing more than a bubble on the surface of a stream that could burst at any moment.

About Taisen Deshimaru

A Sōtō Zen Buddhist teacher who founded the Association Zen Internationale. In 1967, Deshimaru went to Europe and settled in Paris in order to fulfill his master's wish and spread the teachings of Zen. His teachings and mondo sessions were compiled in a variety of books, including Zen & Karma, The Ring of The Way, Sit, and many others. He died in Paris on April 30, 1982.

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About Andrew

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At the age 17, through the guidance of his older brother Chris, he discovered the path of Buddhism. His journey with the practice has taken him across oceans and deep within himself. As a Zen bodhisattva, he works towards helping others find their own path without reward.


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