angry, tattooed monk

angry, tattooed monk

zen, photography, & the musings of an angry, tattooed monk

letting go. 13 april 2023

[photo caption: close-up of a dried light brown leaf on pavement. the leaf's bottom tip has curled back towards itself making a nearly closed circle resembling an enso.]

the phrase "letting go" is frequently used amongst Dharma practitioners, found in texts, and heard in discussions. despite its frequent reference, the meaning of "letting go" is commonly misunderstood.

the Dharma teaches the importance of letting go of ego, of preferences, of emotions, of neurosis, of addictions, of compulsions, of desires, of what we think the Dharma is. we cause harm and perpetuate our own suffering with the misguided belief that "letting go" means that our egoic attachments vanish and we then become beacons of peace and tranquility.

it is true that letting go of our attachments is important, but "letting go" does not mean getting rid of things. "letting go" does not mean that our attachments and character traits disappear.

"letting go" is about acceptance – about realising that those aspects of our personality that we think are broken will not disappear. our neuroses, desires, preferences – it is those attributes that give us individuality as they are part of each of us and are neither good nor bad. when we "let go," it simply means that we are no longer controlled by attachments and beliefs. that life is no longer ego-driven, but actually lived.

truly letting go is like looking at yourself in a mirror. you see your reflection, and you know you are not your reflection.

a scan of daishin's teacher chop

*also published on Buddhistdoor

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