Buddhas Of Presence.
Animals naturally exhibit what is often described in esoteric, spiritual and yogic circles as ‘Buddha Nature’. But what exactly is ‘Buddha Nature’?
Buddha Nature, as described through the actions and teachings of Buddha is the extinguishing of one’s own mind, thereby alleviating one of suffering as they come fully into the present moment. Though, what does it truly mean to extinguish one’s mind? Before you go on to imagine some brain-dead, emotionless figure, take a moment to think about what the 'mind' actually is. What is its function? The 'mind', ultimately, affords us the ability to think, reason, transcend and attach to various moments in time. What will I do today? What did I do yesterday? Who am I? What will tomorrow be like? All empty expressions of 'mind' attempting to predict and guide the planes of intangible reality to help influence the tangible one.
So, what can animals teach us about accessing this 'mindless' part of ourselves? Have you ever just watched an animal go about its day to day? Acting off of impulse, they pursue the most advantageous activity at that moment in time which will lead them toward a most-favourable outcome. When they want to sit, they sit. When they want to play, they play. When they want to sleep, they sleep. When they want to eat, they will desperately seek out or whine for food. They are doing simply by acting off of impulse; guided only by their intuition and awareness.
Think back — can you remember warm summer days with school completely out of the way? No job, no plans, no responsibilities and nothing to do but whatever it is that you made up for yourself that day? Animals are locked in a perpetual summertime. And this is what they can teach us about truly living — about truly being present. No job, no plans, no responsibilities and nothing to do but whatever it is that you made up for yourself that day also meant 'no mind'. What do you want to do in this moment? Do that. Or at least accept what it is that you are doing in this moment as if you were the one who had chosen it!
It’s not what an animal thinks, but what an animal feels in the moment that guides them. They do not strategize or plan out the next few days in order to get their way; they simply act in accordance with the elements that they are given at that singular point in time.
In sum, animals are perhaps our greatest teachers for achieving presence. They say that 'actions, not words, work best for guiding us towards understanding' and these little beacons of presence do just that. They do no speak to us in narrative, but through their chosen actions. The purest exemplars of the here and now; knowing fully the true present afforded by presence. To them, everything is wonderful; everything is new.
—sheer joy, embodied on all four legs.