The Enlightenment Trap

statue of lady with birds

One of my teachers, Shinzen Young, shared a comment that his Zen teachers used to repeat. “Today’s enlightenment is tomorrow’s mistake.”

He calls it the “enlightenment trap.” You have an insight, and walk away with expectations about the way things are/will be. The idea here is: don’t rest on your laurels. Don’t expect things to be how they’ve been. Forever newly curious. Continually letting go.

The Suffering Of The World

“You can hold yourself back from the suffering of the world.  This is something that you are free to do and is in accord with your nature.  But perhaps precisely this holding back is the only suffering you might be able to avoid.” –Franz Kafka


“All sensible people begin in life with two fundamental presuppositions.  You are not going to improve the world, and you are not going to improve yourself.  You are just what you are.  And once you have accepted that situation, you have an enormous amount of energy available to do things that can be done. And everybody else, looking at you from an external point of view, will say “my god, how much so-and-so has improved!”   –Alan Watts



A beautiful quote from one of my teachers, George Haas: “we want to get to a place where we no longer need to restrict knowledge of ourselves from ourselves.”