State of Innocence

State of Innocence April 3, 2018

“Put a fish on land and he will remember the ocean until he dies. Put a bird in a cage, yet he will not forget the sky. Each remains homesick for his true home, the place where his nature has decreed that he should be.

Man is born in the state of innocence. His original nature is love and grace and purity. Yet he emigrates so casually without even a thought of his old home. Is this not sadder than the fishes and the birds?”

Han Shan Deqing


Our true nature is basically good. The core of our being is awakened. This is the opposite of the idea of “original sin” that so many of us were raised with.

What if we have original purity? What if the center of our being is good? What if the truth is that we are good enough?
We are, as he says, naturally in a state of love, grace, and purity. I know that’s hard to believe sometimes. But what if it’s true? What if our true nature is love and grace?

Many of us struggle to feel worthy in our lives. But you are worthy. We all are.

When the Buddha attained Enlightenment he looked up at the morning star in the sky and he said, “I and all beings have attained Enlightenment!” He didn’t say, “I and all beings who try really hard…” or “I and all beings who have enough money to go on expensive retreats…”

All beings, no one gets left out.

That’s so important. Awakening is the center of your being. Basic Goodness is your home. It’s easy to forget, though.

We are consistently held back our emotional baggage, our neuroses, and our preconceptions. These things are delusions. You are the sky and all the things holding you back from realizing that are just the weather.

Enlightenment really consists of recognizing the Buddha nature that is within us already. You are that. There is no separation. And no one gets left out.


 Daniel Scharpenburg is a meditation instructor and dharma teacher in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world.
Find out more about Daniel on his website and connect with him on Facebook.
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