Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Are You Ready To Lose Your World?

--by Adyashanti (Oct 05, 2009)

There is a very famous poem written by the third patriarch of Zen, Seng-ts’an, called the Hsin-Hsin Ming, which translates as Verses in Faith Mind. In this poem Seng-ts’an writes these lines: “Do not seek the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.”  This is a reversal of the way most people go about trying to realize absolute truth. Most people seek truth, but Seng-ts’an is saying not to seek truth. This sounds very strange indeed. How will you find truth if you don’t seek it? How will you find happiness if you do not seek it? How will you find God if you do not seek God?  Everyone seems to be seeking something. In spirituality seeking is highly honored and respected, and here comes Seng-ts’an saying not to seek. […]

In order to seek, you must first have an idea, ideal, or an image, what it is you are seeking. That idea may not even be very conscious or clear but it must be there in order for you to seek. Being an idea it cannot be real. That’s why Seng-ts’an says “only cease to cherish opinions.” By opinions he means ideas, ideals, beliefs, and images, as well as personal opinions. This sounds easy but it is rarely as easy as it seems. Seng-ts’an is not saying you should never have a thought in your head, he is saying not to cherish the thoughts in your head. To cherish implies an emotional attachment and holding on to. When you cherish something, you place value on it because you think that it is real or because it defines who you think you are. This cherishing of thoughts and opinions is what the false self thrives on. It is what the false self is made of. When you realize that none of your ideas about truth are real, it is quite a shock to your system. It is an unexpected blow to the seeker and the seeking. […]

This is why I sometimes ask people, “Are you ready to lose your world?” Because true awakening will not fit into the world as you imagine it or the self you imagine yourself to be. Reality is not something that you integrate into your personal view of things. Reality is life without your distorting stories, ideas, and beliefs. It is perfect unity free of all reference points, with nowhere to stand and nothing to grab hold of. It has never been spoken, never been written, never been imagined. It is not hidden, but in plain view. Cease to cherish opinions and it stands before your very eyes.


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Previous Reflections:

On Oct 5, 2009 Rajima wrote:

Tao-de-ching says----'the tao that is named is not the Tao.

the upanishads declare that IT or THAT is nameless & formless.

On Oct 6, 2009 Rod Templin wrote:

After being a runner for over 50 years, working with the rhythm of breathing, footstrikes, and mantra, one of the most powerful to emerge recently is:

nonresistance .   .   .nonattachment .   .   .nonjudgment .   .   .sets us free

On Oct 6, 2009 supun wrote:

I liked how in the Deepa Mehta movie, Water, when Gandhi-ji appears at the end he says, "My dear brothers and sisters, for a long time I believed that God is Truth. But  Today I know that Truth is God. The pursuit of truth... is invaluble to me. I trust it will be the same for you"

On Oct 6, 2009 Conrad wrote:

Once again, what you send is highly inspiring and enlightening.  I frequently forget what is said here when I think I have some truth that others ought to hear.  I am presently writing a novel about a student bringing legal action against a professor  for mentioning some ideas similar to what Adyashanti said. I seem to be implying that it is more true to be open than closeed. I will probably keep pursuing this but I am a little more cautious now as I am more aware that I know that I don't know.  Thanks for continuing to inspire me.  You continue to have my gratitude.


On Oct 7, 2009 Fedor wrote:

Reading this passage of Adyashanti I caught myself in thinking that in the poem interpretation he is conveying an opinion the very one he appeals not to cherish:).

I like the ‘game’ and here is my ‘play’:

In Seng-ts’an’s “Do not seek the truth” the emphasis is not on ‘not to seek’, but on ‘ No Truth’. The message is…. opinion invents the Truth. That is notion of Truth is an opinion.
And at the end, reading Adyashanti’s statement “Reality is life without your distorting stories..”, I felt again as he is confusing (hopefully intentionally) a simple matter. For reality is not life. Life is the story about reality. We are all living stories of Reality.
Seng-ts’an, in his poem, invites to enjoy the stories, the living, without notion of truth, without preconception of reality. And this is only awakening possible as opposite to the dreaming.

On Oct 9, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

This thought went very deep. It almost sounds like true wisdom will arise when we do nothing. However, I don't think it is a "do nothing" path at all. On the contrary, a lot of striving is necessary to develop the awareness to see that that need to do nothing to destroy our balance. As the striving continues, the intensity of work needed will reduce over time, bringing a deeper awakening. We must distinguish between the goal and the path.

On the path itself, there are two major paths that come to mind - the path of rejection and the path of acceptance. In the path of rejection, we reject anything that is not real - e.g. my voice, appearance and vibrations are not my reality. Once we have exhausted the entire space of possibilities that the mind could pose as reality, we will be able to transcend the mind and start to be. Similarly, in the path of acceptance, we accept everything as a partial reality - e.g. my voice, appearance and vibrations are all real - but only partially so. None of them captures the full story of reality. This means I can accept every idol, image or idea of reality with ease, noting that this is also a partial reality. Once the mind has exhausted its entire space of possibilities, we will again be able to transcend the mind and start to be. 

Where both these paths meet is where Seng-t'san says, "only cease to cherish opinions." By rejecting, we stop cherishing opinions. By accepting all in the same way, we cease to cherish any as higher than the other. Both paths, if practiced properly, will lead to non-attachment. But both paths have their dangers. By rejecting all that comes, I could develop anger (for instance, getting angry at those who worship images for that is not reality), and while I am superficially rejecting all, I have forgotten to reject anger within my mind. I end up becoming more of a rejectionist than anything else, unable to find peace or help others find peace. By accepting all that comes, I could develop attachment to particularly pleasing forms (for instance, confusing an image of reality for reality) and lose my balance and consider the partial reality in front of me as the only reality, and end up becoming a fundamentalist, failing to find peace myself or helping others find peace.

Finally, a story of reality. I was in the magical city of Berkeley with my wife and a dear friend and mentor. We talked about reality and the ideas shared above, and entered a zone where it was difficult to speak. We were feeling reality in the moment. Just then, a loud voice interrupted us, "Excuse me, I've been trying so long to park but cannot find a lot that has space. I and my wife have been trying to get to a football game and we are willing to park anywhere we can and get a taxi. Can you tell me where to go?" I thought our friend would quickly resolve this, as she said, "Oh, yes, I can tell you where to go."

The next thing I knew, our friend stood up heroically, and said, "I know the best place for you to park in Berkeley." Now, I was really listening. The best place to park in Berkeley is very useful to know. Looking at the man, my friend said, "Are you ready for this?" As he nodded, she exclaimed, "The best place to park is right here!"

I looked at the curb where his car was parked, and indeed, there was no red marking, or any "no parking" sign. She continued, "Get your things from the car, and I will take you and your wife to the game myself." This is the part where I wanted to jump up and clap or say "Bravo!" Of course, we tagged along to drop them. The man was shocked, and kept nodding his head, "I can't believe this is happening." I found myself saying, "Welcome to Berkeley!" My friend left them with a smile card, to widen there already wide smiles.


On Oct 12, 2009 Carolyn wrote:

Reality is not something, reality just is. We are nothing to reality, reality is nothing to us. We are equal to reality if we can just be.

On Oct 13, 2009 Archana dixit wrote:

As in astavakra geeta its said you require that unequal skill of droping the ideas or concepts about self,or about others or about the unpredictable mind.Rejoicing in now without conflict.Dropping all ideas of ego.Root of conflict is ideas or concept.true sense of touch is am all prevading even though i have'nt touched all.dissolving in big ones being.just being

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