Posted inHenry's Messages

Message from Henry: Personality

November 14, 2017

Leaking samadhi: still a self, managing itself.
Non-leaking samadhi: no self. No management.

We can’t seem to help it, we all walk around with our socially constructed personalities. They are like masks. Or puppets. Additional. Not intrinsic. However lovely we may try to make them appear, they aren’t quite real, and are therefore in some sense false. And therefore perhaps even a little ugly. Maybe that sounds harsh and unkind. But really in the end “personalities” are not very nice. They are hollow, they are not what they like to think they are. It would be like face masks believing they were actual faces, angrily insisting on being taken for real faces.

Zen training is to take off the mask and discover the real face hidden underneath all along. It is to shatter the shell of personality and the release the human being within – the original face.

Nevertheless, what does all the training add up to in the end? Perhaps not much more than a slightly improved personality. A little less anxiety, a little less irritability. But that can be a huge shift. How wonderful: a little, it turns out, can go a very long way.


If Buddha was a psychologist, he was an existential one. Rather than merely trying to manage a given personal psychology more effectively (though he did that) his own search was driven by a quest to sift through experience and see what it was at bottom. And he got there; and in such a way that he was afterwards able to convey to others both what he had found, and some methods by which they might pursue their own explorations to fruition.


Message from Henry is from our November 13, 2017 Newsletter
Image: Fantasy-Mask by kellepics, Public Domain CC0, from
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