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Who We Are
by Electus

Well I'm so and so,
I was given this name by my parents,
I've been to such and such a college,
I've done these things in my profession,
and I produce a little biography.
Buddha says forget it.
That's not you, that's just some story.
That's all gone, that's all passed.
I want to see the real you!
Who you are now!
Well nobody knows who that is, you see?
Because we don't .
. know ourselves except through listening to our own echoes .
. and consulting our memories.
But then there's a real you, and that again leads us back to this question:
Who are you?
You will find that the Zen people are quite divided on this.
They will say, "No we don't believe literally in reincarnation.
That after your funeral, you will suddenly become somebody different, living somewhere else."
They will say, "Reincarnation means this:
that if you sitting here now are really convinced that you're the same person who walked in at the door half an hour ago, you're being reincarnated.
If you're liberated, you'll understand that you're not.
The past doesn't exist.
The future doesn't exist.
There is only the present and that's the only real you that there is."
The Zen master Dogen put it this way, he said
"Spring does not become the summer.
First there is spring and then there is summer,"
T.S. Elliot has the same idea in his poem "The Four Quartets"
where he says, "When you settle down in the train to read your newspaper…
you are not the same person who left the platform."
If you think you are, you are linking your moments up in a chain,
and this is what binds you to the wheel of birth and death.
But when you know that every moment in which you are is the only moment,
this comes into Zen—a master will say to somebody
"Get up and walk across the room!"
and he comes back and the master says "Where are your footprints?"
They've gone.
So where are you?
Who are you?
When we're asked who we are, we usually give a kind of recitation of a history,

Contributed by Alaina O. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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