In Zen, there is this zeel/quest for Enlightenment and the students strive for that. Ask the student what is Enlightenment and they cannot tell you. This is sort of the Zen Koan that most Zen seekers eventually come up against.
Actually awakening the mind to the truth of this existence is rare, but not impossible. I think most people just have a faith in what the teachings of Buddha say about this existence, but no actual belief because they have not yet opened up the Dharma eye, not even for 1/10th of a second.
Yet, that is all it takes, that amazing 1/10ty of a second of the Dharma eye to open and see the truth to convert faith to Belief, and that is when everything changes.
I always knew that there is no physical deed or posture one can do that will transform yourself to become enlightened. Logic demands that if such could happen, then it would be commercialized and sold in the common marketplace, as well as instituted.
When it comes to enlightenment, that nobody seems to know what it is and those who may claim to be enlightened cannot say what it is, well then we know it’s not a state-of-mind, a feeling or mood, nor is it a trance or hypnotic state. Again, if it was such then it would become commercialized, sold in the marketplace, as well as instituted.
The Sutras of Zen instruct that: There is nothing to gain, that each of us has all we ever need, and that we are enlightened beings. Logically, it becomes clear that it is our minds that have picked some nasty habits: wrong view, wrong aspiration, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration.
Conditioned nasty habits are the worst, even more so are the real nasty ones that are brainwashed into popular culture as our identity (work, position, family name, physiology). We are creatures of conditioning and brainwashing from babies to view and understand this worldly existence through the lens of the conditioning and the filter of the brainwashing.
If you ever choose to reach the Recorded Sayings of Zen Masters, there is a common theme: Drop, abandon, relinquish, renounce, let-go… of all those nasty habits!
So, reason and logic would then suggest that dropping the nasty mental habits, that we know cause mental suffering and that suffering develops delusions, then we deduce that unfettered freedom is the result. What does this look like? Can’t say, nor can anyone tell you.
This is the part where I tell you how to drop nasty mental habits. And so, this is where I tell you that you have to see firsthand, for yourself, the suffering created by the nasty mental habits so you know what to look for and to make a CHOICE to either engage in the nasy mental habit or not. It only takes a few times to NOT engage to start to break a habit.
I quit smoking when I was 26. I smoked from the age of 18, and was a heavy smoker up to two packs a day. I remember I was attending a community college and smoking inside was no longer a thing, that year smokers had to go outside. Well, it was freezing and snowing, and the smoking area had no cover. There I stood freezing and in the falling snow trying to light a cigarette..when suddenly I realized: “Im a slave to this damn thing, to these cigarettes. This habit is controlling me to do something I don’t want to do”. I stood there for a bit, then put the lighter and the pack of cigarettes in the garbage can next to the entry door of the college and walked away. I never smoked since then.
If you ask me how to drop a nasty mental habit, all I can say is: Just drop it, relinquish it, abandon it, and renounce it. No half-way, no baby-steps, no bargaining. Just drop it fully.