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July 21, 2024

True and real


“A human being, his material possessions, and his surroundings are merely shadows of his mind. However, this Truth cannot be understood by an ignorant person who thinks the thought that things exist everlastingly or that things become completely extinct. These two views originate in the mind, and nothing exists outside of this mind.”

  • Shakyamuni Buddha

Over the many months and years, it seems we have been struggling with whether what we hear, read and see is true or not. The Buddha warned that the more we cling to our view of what is true, can lead to us losing our grip on reality. We are constantly bombarded with what others view as truth and take sides and develop loyalties that can take us to extremes. We find groups who cling to their truths and are willing to uphold their view at any price, including bending what is true and real.

In order for us to become fully aware of what is true and real we must exercise the brain. We must be introspective and question our own credibility when it comes to our view of the truth. Whose truth are we embracing? Is that truth grounded in reality and facts? The Buddha warned us that the ignorant person cannot see life as it truly is. We see the world the way we want it to be and not what it truly is.

It is not easy to look honestly and truthfully at the self and realize that we ignore reality and our views are based on selfishness. It is much easier and comfortable to listen, accept and embrace those who share our ideological leanings. Unfortunately, the result of constantly choosing the comfortable and easy path leads us further from what is true and real.

What is true? I am a being of selfishness and self-serving thoughts, words and actions. What is Real?  Impermanence, interdependency and oneness of all things. As fallible human beings, our truths are rooted in ignorance, selfishness and self-serving motives, so what can we do?

As we are bombarded with the varying views of what is right, what is wrong, what is true and what is fake, we might consider embracing the truth of self and how we view all of these opinions. We might consider that we all live in a world of change and we should ask ourselves are the changes viewed as good or bad? In truth, they are just change and we view them as good or bad because they go the way we want them to, or they don’t go the way we want them to.

We might consider embracing the truth of interdependency. We are all interrelated and interdependent. All of our thoughts, words and actions will affect others. We are the result of a myriad of causes and conditions. We cannot exist without each other, we cannot exist without nature and all it provides. We might consider as we engage with others, “Is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” We might consider that we share so much with others, from the air we breathe to the hopes and dreams for our families, our communities and the world.

We might consider that what is true and real is the Buddha-dharma, the teachings of the Buddha.


Rev. Hosei Shinseki leads the Watsonville Buddhist Temple. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of The Pajaronian.


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