“I don’t know.”
Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of Chan/Zen Buddhism, met the Emperor Wu from when he first reached China on his dangerous voyage from India. When Bodhidharma appeared before him, the Emperor said to him,
“I have built temples and ordained monks; what is my merit?”
Bodhidharma replied, “no merit.”
The Emperor then asks Bodhidharma,
“What is the first principle of the holy teachings?”
Bodhidharma replied, “Vast emptiness, nothing holy.”
When the Emperor heard “Vast emptiness, nothing holy”, he was flummoxed. Finally
he rallied and asked, “Who is standing before me?”
Bodhidharma said, “I don’t know.”
Where I was
Being in my final year of a Bachelor of Communication Design at Billy Blue College of Design in Sydney, Australia, it was time to get ready to take on the world – cue the dreaded “portfolio” class. Here I was encouraged to condense all of “Liam” into a sell-able design service. I looked over my work and over my”self,” everything that made up everything I ever was or ever did and I discovered
A gay, vegan, nerdy, mountain-hippie
who meditates, makes music and designs graphic splendor…
or leeium, a thoughtful.
Where I was going
I had “perfection” planned, or my variant thereof; I would spend another year or so gathering funds to head to Taiwan and train and tonsure as a Buddhist monk in the Fo Guang Shan monastic order. I would thus spend the rest of my life dedicated to the propagation of Humanistic Buddhism.
Where I am now
Sitting at my desk, writing this, allowing a train of thought that, rather than serve a selfishly restricting quest for my vision of perfection, embraces the potential of any given moment to be the best that I can be for myself and all around me.
In all candour, this is a valiant departure from 6 years of Anorexia Nervosa and 20 general years of the quest to prove myself “good enough” for, or to, who knows what. This is now a time of experimentation in which I will discover all of this person, not just the things I “want to see” or, more poignantly, “want to be.”
I am a human and everything that comes with that, but, like the rest of us, I am more than that. Let’s get real big! I am life, and everything that means.
Where I am going
While I plan for the future, my immediate priority is how I am doing now and what, with any given situation and its potential, I can do to be of maximum benefit to myself and others. It’s exciting, all of this potential.
Buddhism, like all ancient wisdom, encourages to “live in accord with the conditions in our environment.” Without getting too deep and analytical, just “go with the flow.” We all know how, we just don’t do it.
So Who am I
I don’t know.
But to avoid appearing as if I’m trying to pass off as some next-wave-Bodhidharma, I’ll add, “let’s find out.”