A spiritual initiate should not feel smug. They have no greater chance of enlightenment than ordinary people. An ordinary person shouldn’t look down on the holy aspirant; everyday life is so full of distractions that finding spirituality is not easy. Frankly, neither being a religious initiate nor being a layperson is the deciding factor in whether a person finds Tao or not. Identities only get in the way.
I do not need to pretend that I am anyone other than myself. I do not need to feel insecure about my perceptions. The self-cultivation that I undertake is to perfect who I am, not to become someone other than who I am.
I pursue the spiritual because it gives me tremendous satisfaction. I do not pursue it because of threats of hell, ignorance, or suffering.
Life has its sad and happy moments. I accept them all. Life has its times of dispassion and utter serenity. Those are the moments that I seek. They give me my path through the myriad phenomena of this existence. I do not compare myself to ascetics and priests. Let them have their lives. I enjoy mine.
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
City Door (part one of two set)
Leica m3 90mm Zeiss
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