How Dharma Works

“It’s like the story of the ugly duckling. That’s a perfect example of how the dharma works. There was this bird that was born into a flock of ducks, and he was extremely ugly – so ugly he was barely tolerated by the mother duck. He was misshapen, he made funny noises that didn’t sound like a quack and he couldn’t waddle like the others. He looked big and clumsy, so he was constantly being teased and laughed at by the other ducklings. The more he tried to be like them, the funnier he looked, the more they laughed at him, and the more despondent and disillusioned he became. One day, while he was drinking from a pond, he saw another reflection that looked just like him. He looked up and saw another ugly ducking, and another and another. At that moment in time he realized that he wasn’t a duck at all. He was a swan. At that moment of realization he became perfect and complete, lacking nothing. There was nothing he needed to learn to do. There was nothing he needed to imitate. He was already perfect. He already knew how to be a swan. He was born with a swan nature. That’s what realization is — the discovery of what’s already there. It’s the discovery that you are a buddha, perfect and complete, lacking nothing. When you realize it, you are transformed.”

John Daido Loori

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