From the archives of some theosophical e-mail lists.


Universal Seekers

On the question Who am I and Zen

Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002
   From: "stevestubbs" 
Subject: Re: Introduction to Keith, comser3000

--- In UniversalSeekers@y..., Miguel Brendan 
<comser3000@y...> wrote:
> Since January I have woken up everyday with the
> question. "Who am I?" and by this I mean who was I,
> what is my purpose. I have always had this question in
> my head but lately it is my predominatnt thought.

You may find it interesting that this question of yours is used in Zen as the means for attaining enlightenment.  The trick is to keep the question and not accept any answer which is intellectual or which can be expressed in words.  If purely intellectual insights come to you, by rejecting them and going back to the question you eventually arrive at an understanding which transcends discursive reasoning and which cannot be communicated with words or signs.  In 
zazen, or sitting meditation, students take the questin, which is reduced to the single word "Who?" and use it as a sort of mantra, not to still the mind, though, but as a sort of mental battering ram which they use to bash through the Mind of Delusion and get at the real answer.  

In his book THE THREE PILLARS OF ZEN, Kapleau roshi quotes his teacher, Yasutani roshi to the effect that all the koans are really just ways of banging against your mental barrier to enlightement with the question "Who?"  In time those barriers are said to weaken, and then you come to enlightenment.  Unfortunately when you know the Answer, since it is not intellectual you cannot share it with anybody.  As the old Chinese proverb says:

He who knows does not speak.
He who speaks does not know.

Anyway, that might assist you in putting your current experience in perspective.