“Of course a dog has Buddha nature, you silly monk!”
But a dog can never have full human awakening because it has never separated itself from the universe or its Buddha Nature. So it’s clear: without the separation there is no awakening.
This will not be an essay however on either Iggy Pop’s seminal punk anthem or the great Chinese Zen koan Mu. (the one where the monk asks the master does a dog have Buddha Nature and the master answer “Mu,” or “No.” When obviously, all things have Buddha Nature.) And sure, who wouldn’t want to be your dog and get fed, walked and scratched behind the ears all the while happily ignorant of the goings on of the world in a state of at-one-ment and transcendental absorption?
Ironically, it is precisely the cause of our suffering (separation via time, of longing for the past or future different from our current state) that provides the vehicle for our ultimate awakening. For without the separation, we could never see ourselves or our awe inspiring place in the universe as both creator and the created. Stepping back 1 iota in time or space sheers us from our doggy nature of prenatal bliss and wretches us asunder in isolation. From this vantage point what lies ahead? A gap, and alienation unlike any seen in the natural world of dumb animals. I don’t mean that as an insult, I am pointing out the fact that they can’t talk — and I don’t mean communicate but I mean conjure meaning and symbols and self-identity through language — and for humans, language itself is the death-knell of blissful ignorance but also our very salvation enabling us to reach the unborn potential, consciously, of awakening, enlightenment in the great realization of our true nature.
So what I’m pointing to is that it is the departing and separating that allows a true seeing of oneself and allows the universe to realize itself. Via your awakening—yes, you can actually allow the universe itself to realize itself by waking up. Shakyamuni Buddha wasn’t just waxing poetic when he stated upon his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, “I, the great earth and all sentient beings, together, enter the way.”
But back to the departing and separating: language plays the key and pivotal role in this as it is the great divider, the scalpel, and allows for self-consciousness and thus objectification, and thus separation. But the collapse of that is what creates the “big bang” of self-realization and an experience and perspective that travels beyond time and space into a realm/perspective that the animal world cannot. Or seems to not! It’s only thru the movement of the collapse that enough energy can be wrought. The mind has to implode to see it. The mind has to be cognizant to realize it.
It’s important to accent that we are talking about oneness. What I’m saying is that our separation is so artificial, so “man-made” that it is only humans that can realize the oneness because we are the only ones able to separate long enough to even think there isn’t a oneness. There is no awakening without sleep first.
It’s the ultimate irony really. That’s why life is sometimes referred to as a cosmic joke. The joke is on us, but we wrote the joke. It’s like 20, 30, 40-year practical joke we started playing on ourselves at birth that we forget we are playing (well, did we really know to begin with? We were just dogs ourselves coming out the womb) and then suddenly we see the joke is on us but we set it all up to begin with! Hilarious! Ludicrous! Inconceivable! It’s only in that momentary glimpse of seeing both the ONE and the TWO that we can say “oh my god, I did this, and literally I created it all.”
This is the universe revealing itself to itself. Again, the purpose of the universe as manifested by our consciousness seems to be for it to become aware of itself and see itself. In that sudden fleeting glimpse (and it is always fleeting even if it lasts hours) of seeing itself and being in on the great cosmic practical joke it has played, it gets to be in awe and wonder at the limitless potential that it always is and that we ourselves represent. From within this unborn potential comes all things and to say one is different than another is true delusion. Of course a dog has Buddha Nature and of course I am your dog. I am also Mumon, the silly monk and mu itself.