Seeing the Buddha

He who sees me, sees the Dhamma,
He who sees the Dhamma, sees me.
Vakkali Sutta

This short, but beautiful verse expresses completely our spiritual journey, and the goal of that journey, to be one with Dhamma - to be one with Truth.
To have gone past any need or thought of training ourselves, of getting something or of becoming someone because of what we do. To let go completely of any idea that meditation and right conduct is a means to an end, but to be always at peace in the world because we are in harmony with life itself.
When we live from this place in the heart all confusion falls away. We will know what is real and how to ‘simply be’ in that reality.
We will know the Buddha directly, because we will know Dhamma directly. It will not be something outside or separate, it will be what we are.
However, with reflection there is another interpretation of this verse, and another way to help us in our ordinary daily life.
He who can see me, sees the Dhamma,
He who sees the Dhamma can see me.
The difference is in what we see.
If we always view the Buddha as a special, historical personage who defeated ignorance under the Bodhi tree in the forest of Uruvela, became enlightened and then lived to show the way to others, we will not see the man. We will miss the beauty of his humanity and so miss what is perhaps his most important teaching;

‘What is possible for me is possible for all who apply themselves to this path.’

This path is not a religious path, or a social path, it is not a political or intellectual path, it is only a Dhamma path – a path of Love, Truth and understanding. This path takes us only to the clear and uncorrupted connection with Truth and reality by showing us how to see what is in front of us.
If we always see the chicken and the pig as food on the table, we miss the beauty of the animal. If we always see the snake and the bear as dangerous enemies, we also miss the beauty of the animal. And so it follows that if we always see the Buddha as the supreme being, we miss the beauty of the man.
To see with eyes not coloured by fear or hatred, attachment or clinging, reverence or devotion is to see the reality. To see and not have that vision clouded by our own perceptions of what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, is to see clearly. To see without judgements and opinions blinding us to what is in front of our very eyes is to see purely.
The one who can do this ( and everyone can if they wish it ) is then able to see the Buddha by seeing the Dhamma.
When we see the other being without our gross or even subtle prejudices, we make a space for ourselves and them, to simply be. We can then respond to any situation that presents itself from Love, understanding and acceptance, rather than fear and compromise. This space is calming, refreshing and peaceful and does not generate anger or bad feeling. In this place we connect with the oneness in our relationship, which is the centre of our spiritual training, to see and accept the other as they are, not as we would have them be.
This is the practice of Love, to know the other as something fluid and moving in life, and not find ourselves fixed in an idea of how they were and how they should be. Here we see with open eyes, and so see the dhamma of all things.
When we are able to see and accept all things as they are, we see the Dhamma, when we see the Dhamma we truly see the Buddha.

May all beings be happy

Author's Bio: 

Michael Kewley is the former Buddhist monk Pannadipa and now an internationally accaimed Dhamma master presenting course of Love and awareness throughout the world. He now carries the title Dhammachariya meaning Master. Michael is the founder of the Pure Dhamma tradition. For full biography, details and photos contact,