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Nothing Special Whatsoever

The Awakened PodcastOkay, perfect.

Any insights, revelations, challenges, frustrations, since the last time I saw everybody?

Student: Yes. It’s been two or three weeks since I’ve seen you and I did experience something special. And then, since then, I was kind of this remnant of my past, wondering why was it special? So to speak and then, kind of like, the serpent fighting the dove.

Zen master e: What does that mean?

Student: So kind of like, my physical being, trying to hold on to an experience that can’t be held on to. It’s like you said, “familiar”. It wasn’t something special, because it was always there. I just happenend to have a moment, which became a memory. So here we are.

Zen master e: So is that the battle you keep? Like every every moment, which is fresh and naked – Every moment, which is fresh and naked is now colored with this memory? Is that what’s going on?

Student: It was an interesting transformation I guess. Very grateful.

Zen master e: What do you mean? We have to look at these words? What do you mean transformation?

Student: I feel like it was a crest and a trough. A rise and a fall. In a sense I might have experienced something. But I was clinging to it. So did I actually experienced that at all?

Zen master e: One of my favorites and stories is this monk goes and asks the Zen Master, “What’s the Buddha?”

And the Master points – so you know, like outhouses had to be cleaned. Right? Or these ones had to be cleaned – a different type of style.

So this master, just finished the natural, Right? Coming out the Monk, “Hey! Please tell me tell me what, what’s the Buddha?”

And the zen master points to a stick, Covered in shit from the outhouse and he points at that stick and he says, “Dry shit on a stick.”


Okay, because we want to make it special.

We want to create a divide.

It can’t be doing the dishes, Right?

We have to check ourselves.

It has to be natural.

Nothing special whatsoever.

One of my teachers in the Tibetan tradition – that was one of the first things out of his mouth, “Just be natural. Nothing special about you whatsoever.”

To somebody that wants to be awakened, the Buddha, a realized master that’s a wicked blow the ego. Right?

Nothing special whatsoever.

My teacher, he gave me one of the greatest teachings, right? It was awesome. It was awesome.

One of the first things that he said to me and the Zen tradition.

He said, “So you have a little bit of a little bit of realization, uh?”

Looking at me like this with this face – totally unimpressed.

“So you think you got a little bit of realization. You’re like a, you’re like a firefly that’s trying to burn down a forest on the side of a mountain.”

It was awesome. It was awesome.

Yeah. The small little mind wants to make it special.

Wants to make it transcendent.

Wants to make it a miracle.

Student 2: It’s so true.

Zen master e: It’s so true, right? It wants to set up that, you know, a big divide, a big chasm, as well. You need to do the practice for 25 years, you need to travel to Nepal, right? Oh my gosh, we’re making it special all over the place, right? We’re making it special – everywhere.

And we have to check ourselves continually.

Are we making it special?

Are we making ourselves special?

Nothing special about you whatsoever.

You’re the Buddha.


And this is the practice, right?

We have a lot of aspects and subtleties that we need to clear away. And this making it special is probably one of the biggest hindrances that we’re going to have in our lives.

Especially if you end up being a teacher of some sort within the “spiritual tradition.” This is the biggest ego delusion there is out there.

And that’s why it’s good to work with the teacher directly.

Because the teacher knows us, loves us, cares for us, understand the subtleties about us.

Our hopes, our fears, our dreams.

Where we’re getting hooked. Right?

Nothing special whatsoever.

Dried shit on a stick.

It’s amazing. It’s one of the best teachings out there. Anytime you’re making it special, Chop it. Stop it.

No. You’re just creating a barrier.

Sure, that might be – you seeing it for the first time. How can I never have seen this before? This is amazing. You want to bow down and reverence to it. Whatever that experience may be, right?

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But now what are you going to do with that heartfulness? That full heart and open mind? Yeah.

Because usually, we’re gonna then package it up and sell it as a course.


That’s why – Bodhicitta – for the benefit of all beings.

You always keep that motivation in front of you. Right?

Everybody that you see is the Buddha. Right?

Yeah. If you happen to be at the front in the teachers chair – you better check yourself.

Because we’re going to want to make ourselves special. No.

Robes, bandanas? Whatever it is. Right?

I show up in the same outfit every day on Wednesdays, I don’t even have to think about it. I got my black jogging pants, my grey t-shirt, some socks and underwear on.

Nothing special. No. I’m like a ninja – you wouldn’t even know.

But what’s there to know?

Exactly right.

So it’s good – It’s good that you see this, this battle.

Just drop it.

Just rest in that radiance. Right.

And that – there’s nothing special in our meditation. There’s nothing special about it whatsoever.

Don’t try to make it special.

It’s just natural.

This is the this is the practice of Dharma – to be naturally and authentically, you.

Buddha you.

Student 3: But what about the oneness? You’re not attaching with the identity of yourself. So why are we separate? We’re not separate. You’re like recognizing the oneness of everything.

Zen master e: These words are too much. These words are too much.

We need word medicine. Oneness is too much. Too many words.

Even in certain traditions, they’ll say it’s like, you can’t really say that it exists. You can’t really say that it doesn’t exist. You can’t really say that it doesn’t not exist. And like in it doesn’t not not…

It’s craziness – this mind knot that they tie you in just so you can just put it all down.

Just like in tea. It’s just, “Ah!”

Student 3: It just is.

Zen master e: Even that’s too much.

This is the problem. Part of the conundrum. How do we transmit this to other people? Right?

The transmission.

How can I get you – I can tell you everything about chocolate. Organic, Fairtrade, this, that and the other thing, right? Build this story on. It’s so great and it’s delicious. And Yeah, but over here. It’s just theory. Right? When you taste that chocolate, then you build like, “Ah, chocolate.”

Yeah. So these words – oneness, Okay. Yeah, but this is a word.

You need, you need the taste the experience? Because then you’ll see how oneness is just a beggar of a word.

And don’t try. Yeah,

Student 3: Even saying nothing special, then you think about what is special? What is nothing special?

Zen maste e: Am I making special?

Student 3: And then that totally depends on the person.

Zen master e: In the Zen tradition, they have, in my opinion, one of the best medicines that you can use to just kaybosh, this mind that wants to label and designate and categorize and own everything.

It’s a Koan. You chew on the Koan.

The first Koan that I was given from my teacher, was “What am I?

I just chewed on that all the time. In my mind, “What am I? What am I? What am I?”

The minute I’d wake up, it was going, all the way to the time I went to bed.

Everything that I was doing, if I didn’t need to be engaged intellectually, Right? Just going, going, going, going, going, going, right?

And then because like, it then just becomes this ball, Right?

Because the mind, “What about oneness?”

The Koan, grabs that and just eats it.

“What am I? What am I? What am I? What am I?”

Because right now, Right? The small mind, whatever you want to call it, is taking up everything. Everything about your life is wrapped up in greed, hatred, and delusion. All about me, me, me, me all the time. Right? Everything will come back to you.

But what is this you?

Student 3: I think when you’re saying, “What am I?” you’re also focusing your mind to that thing, and you’re not…

It’s like, “What am I? I am what?” It’s the same thing. And It’s almost not attaching to anything. Because it’s all that. Like I don’t know if I’m saying properly, but like, yeah, so it’s just – it’s answering own question. What am I? What am I? What am I?

Zen master e: But it removes the question and the questioner.

Student 3: Yeah, Yeah, exactly. It removes everything.

Zen master e: Yes. Yeah. So you just keep on the Koan, “What am I?”

If that’s your Koan.

Student 3: Like a mantra.

Zen master e: Yeah, but it’s medicine is what it is. Because then it concentrates. Right? And then it just turns into this ball. And then all of a sudden “Poof” and then you’re gonna laugh your face off. Oneness… This is crazy talk.

Student 3: I was just saying that we’re not like separate

Zen master e: But we act like we are.

Student 3: Yeah, exactly.

Zen master e: We choose like we are. We eat like we are. We shop like we are. We spend our money like we are. We choose our careers like we are.

Everything we do is setting up fences and walls around you.

Because If you have tasted it, then you would do everything in your power to tear everything down.

Because then you’ll see that the only, “My life is for them.”

It’s easy, everything becomes easy, then. Choices become easy then. There’s no there’s no such thing as sacrifice. It’s just truth expressing truth to truth.

Student 3: And when you’re aware of your purpose – You can easily align with that. This is not it. This is not it. This is it. Easily.

Zen master e: So you come back home to yourself.


Not judging. Not checking. Not any of these things that the program that your mind wants you to run.

Student 3: Stories that are in the past.

Zen master e: Past patterns. Yeah.

Student 3: Past and future anxiety.

Zen master e: There is no past no future not even present.

You’re free.


You start to experience it more and more. And then, in the Buddhist tradition, we talk about the Bodhisattva vow. Right.

“As long as space remains
As long as sentient beings remain
So too shall I remain
To free us all.”

At the beginning of the path that sounds crazy. Nuts. But the more – this is the only game in town.

This is it.

So there’s lots of skillful means out there. Upaya they call it in the Buddhist tradition. The problem is, is we become buffet shoppers. We pick up a little bit and we nibble it. And we nibble this. And we nibble that Okay

It’s good. You need to find something that works for you.

But start with the heart.

May my day bring benefit to all beings.
May my work bring benefit to all beings – even that “May my work bring benefit to all beings”

That would transform your work almost immediately.

Okay, that’s too much then.

May my day, may my words, may my actions and may my thoughts bring benefit to all beings.

And then things will just start to change.

Even if you just work with that – Bodhicitta every day.

May I awaken
Not only for my benefit,
But truly for the benefit of others.

Forget all your fancy practices. It doesn’t matter. If you just did that. Because they say that Bodhicitta is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega of it.

Because where did that wish come from? That wish came from itself which is Buddha which is you which is it.

And then nothing is special.

Nothing is special.


You guys want to meditate?