This happens again and again.
A word, a phrase, I have heard hundreds of times, in dharma talks, and so on. Read hundreds of times, in sutras and other texts. This word, today, is “stream.”
Again and again, I have remembered the words of Plato, quoting Heraclitus:
“You could not step twice into the same river.”
Again and again I have heard that life is a stream — the world that is true, all existence, and each sentient being is an ever-flowing stream. We are not the same from one day to the next, from one moment to the next. And I have known, for a long time, that my understanding of this truth is only, was only, an intellectual understanding. I knew I had not attained it, although I believed it, and my mind, my mind understood it.
And then today, thanks to a little text in a magazine (shown above), it entered into me with enormous clarity. I understood it for the first time. It was crazy — I cannot explain exactly how it was different, but it was — so very, very different.
And it lasted only moments. Some moments. I’m left with a kind of vestige of that realization. I am more than I was before, but I am not the same as I was in that moment.
“… I shall liberate them all. And though I thus liberate countless beings, not a single being is liberated.
“And why not? Subhuti, a bodhisattva who creates the perception of a being cannot be called a ‘bodhisattva.’ And why not? Subhuti, no one can be called a bodhisattva who creates the perception of a self or who creates the perception of a being, a life, or a soul.”
— The Diamond Sutra, part 3 (p. 3 — trans. Red Pine, 2001)
I have meditated on this again and again, again and again. Today, for a moment, I attained it.
Now, back to work.