The essence of the religion of Buddha is awareness. There is no prayer in it, there cannot be — because there is no God. And there cannot be any prayer in it because prayer is always motivated. Prayer is a form of desire, a form of lust.
Prayer has deep down hidden in it the very cause of misery. The cause of misery is that we are not contented as we are. The cause of misery is that we would like a different type of life, a different situation, a different world, and the world that is before us pales down before our imagination. The cause of misery is imagination, desire, hope. And in prayer all the causes are present, so there is no possibility for prayer in Buddha’s religion. Only awareness is the key. So we have to understand what awareness is.
When you pray, you ask for something. When you meditate, you meditate upon something. But when you are aware, you are simply centered in your being. The other is not important at all. The other is irrelevant. You are simply aware.
Awareness has no object to it. It is pure subjectivity. It is a grounding in your being, it is a centering in your being. Standing there inside your being, you burn bright. Your flame is without any smoke. In your light the whole life becomes clear.
In that clarity is silence. In that clarity, time ceases to be. In that clarity, the world disappears. Because in that clarity there is no desire, no motivation. You simply are… not wanting anything whatever. Not wanting any future. Not wanting any better world. Not wanting heaven, moksha. Not wanting God. Not wanting knowledge, liberation. You simply are.
Awareness is a pure presence, a centered consciousness. Buddha’s whole effort is how to make you centered, grounded, a flame without smoke, a flame which knows no wavering. In that light, everything becomes clear and all illusions disappear and all dreams become non-existential. And when the dreaming mind stops, there is truth.
From The Buddha Said, Discourse #13
Also published in The Discipline of Transcendence V.3, Discourse #3
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