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Buddha's life is not just about Buddha. It is also about you and me and the world we live in. One way to understand this intimate relationship between Buddha and ourselves is to speak about it through the metaphor of a nurturing and supportive embryonic environment.

When each of us was in our mother's womb we did not have a name, we were not yet a person, but we were all living and growing human beings. Before we were born we were embryos. We did not have to breathe or eat or want for anything, because everything was taken care of in our mother's body.

As embryos our minds did not know words and our hearts did not know about wanting things or food. Our mind was in a beautiful Silence because we did not have to think about anything. Our hearts were in a beautiful Peace, because we did not want or desire anything. This was a special time of heart-not-wanting and a mind-not-knowing. We wanted nothing and we knew nothing. We felt a Peaceful Love and a Wise Silence that took care of everything in our body and outside our body.

Then one day we were born into the world and left our mother's womb. We started to breathe by ourselves and we needed to have food to eat in our mouth. When we began to want food and nice feelings in our body, our heart forgot about the Peace of not-wanting anything. When we began to think about how to make others give us food and make us feel good, our mind forgot about the Great Silence.

Shakyamuni Buddha was an embryo once too. We remember that he was a prince who got all that his heart wanted. He also received teaching and training in anything he wanted to know or to do well. So when he was young they called him "Siddhartha" which means "every wish fulfilled".

As he grew up Siddhartha learned much about the world and how to do many things with all he knew. But still his heart and mind never felt completely satisfied and at ease. He always felt lonely inside even around the people who loved him. Always he was just thinking, doing, and wanting to know more and to feel good so that the loneliness would not hurt him inside. He also saw how other people suffer from wanting, from feeling separate and lonely, from not being with people they love, from being with people they don't like, from having what they don't want, from not having what they want, from growing old, from being sick, from losing the people they love when they die, from knowing that they will die some day too, and from fighting with each other about all kinds of things and ideas.

Siddhartha felt very sad for himself and everyone and decided to leave being a prince to try to understand how to help people and himself find peace with life just as it is. He wanted to find a way of Truth, a Way to live so that people could understand, love, and care for themselves and each other. When he left being a prince, the people began to call him Shakyamuni which meant "the Man of the Shakya clan who Searched for the Body of Truth".

For six years he searched and searched for the Truth. He went everywhere and asked wise teachers if they could help him in his search, but none of them satisfied the deep yearning in his heart and mind. He went off by himself and fasted from food until he almost died. Finally, when he was near death, he made a decision to bring his body back to health and to stop looking for the answer outside himself. He made himself comfortable and sat down under a tree with his back straight. He aroused a deep Faith that the Wisdom inside himself and the Wisdom that created and maintained the Whole Universe are One. He chose to sit in meditation with his eyes open and his awareness attentive to both the inside of his body and the outside world. In this Way, he sat listening with sincerity and determination to that Vast Wisdom that was both inside and outside himself.

He sat for several days. Then one day, just before the sun came up, his open eyes saw the brilliance of the morning star. It was at that moment that his mind knew itself before thinking and his heart realized itself before wanting. He felt a Great Silence that was everywhere inside and outside himself. His mind finally rested in not needing to know anything. His heart stopped wanting and hurting for himself and others because he felt a Great Love and Compassion everywhere inside and outside himself. At that moment, with a heart and mind filled with joy, he found himself saying, "How wonderful! Everything and Everyone is a Part of a Great Silence, a Vast Wisdom, an Unconditional Love, and a Fulfilling Peace whether they Know it or Not".

Siddhartha, now as Shakyamuni Buddha, had finally understood with his whole body that everything and everyone comes from a Great Silence, a Great Wisdom, and a Great Love. He realized that this Vast Silence/Wisdom/Compassion was exactly each Moment Everywhere and Always. He understood that because everything and everyone comes from this Great Silence, It is also called Great Making Wisdom. He knew that the Great Silence, Vast Wisdom, and Unconditional Love was not just in our hearts, but also everywhere making everybody One inside themselves and with each other---One with all creatures, all mountains, rivers, oceans, stars, galaxies, and mother earth. He finally understood through his bodily experience that people could feel a constant Peace in aloneness without feeling lonely or separate from each other.

His bodymind came to know that the Great Wisdom/Compassion never judges us---that Its Love is Unconditional no matter what we do or do not do. He felt this Unconditional Love like a Big Hug everywhere, and so he called it the Great Love or Unconditional Compassion.

He came to see that human beings must make rules to live with each other while being discerning with how to apply an exact discipline for those who do not follow or respect the rules for living together. However, he saw that no one could pass moral judgement on themselves or any other human being because it implied that the True Body of Unconditional Love was limited by conditions imposed by our own human limitations. He saw that because of the human limitations of fear, anger, greed and delusion we develop beliefs and ideas to constantly judge ourselves and prejudge others in ways that create vast suffering for ourselves and other people in our world.

Shakyamuni Buddha awakened to the truth that we were and still are the Great Love and Peace, the Great Silence and Wisdom. But we always forget the beauty of what we are by thinking we are someone separate in our own body from other people and things-- that we think we are our name, our ideas, our feelings, or what we do. He understood that we forget we are Silence and Peace because we always want things that make us feel good and don't want things that make us feel not so good. We forget our True Nature because we try to hold on to feelings,emotions, and experiences that we like and try to hide, push away, or ignore feelings, emotions, and experiences that we don't like.

After his awakening to our True Nature, Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Wisdom that he embodied in Meditation and called it the Four Noble Truths:

1. Life is Suffering.

2. There is a Cause for this Suffering.

3. The Cause is the Attachment to our Ego-self

4. There is an Eightfold Path that Eases
Suffering, Nourishes Peace, and
Enlightens Our Life.


1. Wisdoming Meditation: Practice sitting down quietly once a day. Gently keep your back straight and your eyes partially opened. Pay attention to your breathing and the sensory experience of your whole body. Let go of your passing thoughts and let your whole heart, mind, and body finally begin to rest in a growing peace and compassion for yourself, others, and all of Life Just as It is.

2. Wisdoming Understanding: Practice a constant openness to embody and live the truth before your prejudices, preferences, and opinions. Seek to understanding yourself, others, and all of Life with compassion, honesty, integrity, courage, and patience.

3. Wisdoming Thought: Choose to think in ways that promote humanness, equality, gratitude, appreciation, compassion, and clarity inside yourself and with others.

4. Wisdoming Speech: Speak kindly, truthfully, and accurately by being honest, not calling names, not talking behind peoples' back, or saying things that make people feel unworthy or less than you.

5. Wisdoming Action: Behave in a kind, safe, gentle and caring way for the mutual benefit of yourself and others.

6. Wisdoming Livelihood: Work for money in ways that help people without trying to take advantage of them or hurt them or their environment in any way.

7. Wisdoming Effort: Do everything that needs to be done in your life (whether you like it or not) with your whole heart, mind, and body one hundred percent. Be passionate about living and refining your whole life just as it is.

8. Wisdoming Wakefulness: Moment by moment be aware of what you are doing, feeling, thinking, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and hearing.


1) As we completely yield to just sitting quietly in zazen meditation, we open ourselves to the felt experience that our bodymind and the Whole Universe is a wonderful Peace and a wise Silence just as It is.

2) When we experience the momentariness of our breath and heart beat in meditation we begin to have Right Understanding that birth and death are always immediately present to us----that to embody and realize the True Ground of our self and our life is an urgent matter.

3) By not clinging and attaching to our ideas and beliefs in meditation we begin to understand Right Thought which includes respect, appreciation, love, and caring for all the many ways that people believe.

4) As we sit in the revealing intimacy of silence we begin to understand Right Speech as being sincere, truthful, and honest in what we say to ourselves inside our own minds and in our everyday communication with others.

5) By sitting still with self-compassion we begin to understand Right Action as behaving in a gentle, caring, and loving way towards others, our self, animals, trees, rocks and all of Nature.

6) By practicing meditation for the benefit of self and others we learn to earn money through a Right Livelihood that is beneficial to ourselves, our family, and society as a Whole---a Livelihood that does not hurt other people, animals, the earth and all of Nature's Great Balance.

7) By just doing meditation no matter how we feel we learn Right Effort as trying to do everything that needs to be done with our whole body, mind, and heart 100% whether we like doing it or not.

8) By just sitting and paying attention to our breathing we begin to understand what it means to really have Right Wakefulness to everything inside and outside ourselves and to never take anything or anyone for granted just because they are always there.

Original Copyright December 8, 1990
Andrew Shugyo Daijo Bonnici, Ph.D.
All Rights Reserved

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