Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

We all want to idealize our teachers, and we want to idealize enlightenment, and ourselves. What happens is we set things up so that there is enlightenment, and there’s this teacher who’s going to give it to us, and that teacher has to be perfect and we have to be perfect. And of course, it makes it impossible for us to practice, and to have compassion for ourselves and for others. The fact is, we’re all human. And enlightenment does not bestow perfection. There’s no such thing as perfection. There are different teachers with different issues, but always there’s something there. I think of the wonderful teaching of the lotus in the mud: It grows from the muck below and blossoms as a beautiful, pristine flower above. All of us have our feet in the stinking mud, and yet there is an opportunity to offer our lives, however imperfect they are, to others.

— excerpt from "Practice First," with Zen priest Sensei Enkyo O'Hara


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