Nondual Zen Article:

Nothing Attained, Everything Claimed

nondual title

Nothing Attained, Everything Claimed
by Kathleen Sutherland

“Through attaining unexcelled perfect enlightenment I attained not a single thing.” The Diamond Sutra, Ch. 22.

In awakening we gain nothing. We gain nothing because all that we sought is already right here before us. We don’t even gain awakening. It’s not ours. Like everything else, it is simply here for us – before us, around us and within us.

We gain nothing, but we claim everything. Awakening means falling deeply into what is, claiming every part of it, coming to see that it is us. This is what we are. This moment, with these present circumstances, is precisely what we are – each and every one of us.

Have you noticed that when you awaken, we all awaken together? There is only one Mind. Awakening shifts you into this Mind. Your individual mind and body are seen to be within this Mind. Everyone’s mind and body is within this Mind. All of creation is within this Mind. It’s a mind game.

"All living beings will eventually be led by me to the final Nirvana….[and when this occurs,] in truth not even a single being has actually been liberated." The Diamond Sutra, Ch. 3.

Your awakening transforms everything. When you’re engrossed in a novel, the characters and their world come to life. When you set the book aside, the spell is broken, and the world of the novel recedes to the back of your mind, resting in suspended animation. After all, real life needs your attention. And so it is when you awaken. The fantasy of this life and world recedes into the backdrop. It is still there, but it is not of much importance in light of what is revealed to be essential truth.

For those who haven’t experienced it, awakening is sometimes conceived of as something apart from reality, something higher. It does mean stepping out of the dream world – but not into another dream world. When you see through the illusion of this relative life, then you find yourself firmly grounded in reality. And that is where you are needed. Awakening and abidance in What Is are the most practical things you can do. Don’t get caught up in the illusory games of this world, grasping or shunning appearances. Claim what is actually yours, right here and right now. This is the way out of suffering, both personal and collective. It is the only way out.

Upon awakening you realize that you have gained nothing because you lacked nothing. Contemplate this truth by falling ever more deeply and willingly into the arms of whatever arises. Start with this moment. Disregard likes and dislikes for all that presents itself today. Simply notice that it Is. It is all that Is. There is no alternative, nor was there ever. This moment has always been yours. And it will be with you forever because it is you.

You are inescapable. You are that which neither comes nor goes. You’ve always been here and always will be here. Breathe and you breathe yourself. Sleep and you dream yourself. Awaken and you see yourself. There is no turning away from what you are. Surrendering to this day is surrendering to yourself. My will be done.

Don’t fight or run from yourself. We have tried this, and always found ourselves right back where we started. Settle into yourself. This is your eternal freedom.

This newfound realm is infinitely detailed. You will never tire of exploring what you are. It is also absolutely simple. Rest in its stillness. There is nothing to do. You have attained unexcelled perfect enlightenment. You have gained no thing. This kingdom has always been yours.