What is a buddha? An awakened one? And what is it to be awakened? Is it advisable even to define and then limit a buddha to a definition? The questions are more important than the answers. There are buddhas hiding everywhere–in stores, at work, in flowers, sometimes even in Yoga centers, and for sure among children. I once gave a talk about meditation and awakening to a college class. In the back of the room was their bus driver who raised his hand and then gave a short and poetic discourse on how he “learned all this just driving my bus!” There was also a famous beedi salesman whom people slowly found out had the most sage advice and insights. There are many stories like these.
Decades ago my friend and mentor, Swami Venkates, came to visit me in Los Angeles. He always liked to meet sages and spiritual teachers so I told him that I had heard about a Zen Roshi who just came to town. “Get us an appointment,” he requested. We entered the Roshi’s room, all bowed to each other, sat quietly on the floor and were offered cups of hot tea. After some minutes of just sitting with each other the Swami asked, “Roshi, what is enlightenment?” The Roshi said, “Your face! Your face is showing it!” He then broke into laughter. The Swami joined the laughing, and soon we were all hysterical. The Swami then said, while struggling through his laughter, “Roshi, it’s your laugh! Your laughter is enlightenment, thank you verrrry much!” We all again bowed and left. Few words, immense light.
At times we are all buddhas. Many children often seem to be born buddhas. An eminent buddha is imminent when she emanates love and insight. Join the buddha field often–by entering the field, or by emanating the field. The mistake may be to think there exists, and then to try to become, a permanent buddha.
All things must pass. Even your buddhahood.